Working safely in an excavation operation is essential. There are steps that you must take to ensure that the job site is kept as safe as possible. This according to Icon Equipment Distributors, Inc. will keep your workers and your equipment, as well as the site itself, free from injury or costly damages.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA sets forth the official regulations for all kinds of worksite safety and risk management. The excavation safety regulations and guidelines have recently been updated by the organization. They include doing the following things.
Know whether or not your site involves a trench or an excavation first. Trenches are longer than they are wide and can measure no more than 15 feet deep. If you have an excavation it is similar to this but it defined as any man-made cut or cavity. It can be much wider than it is long and it may go deeper than 15 feet.
If you are dealing with an OSHA-defined excavation you must make sure to keep all heavy equipment away from the edges. All surcharge loads have to be at least two feet away from the edges.
Always call before you start digging. Know exactly where all underground utilities are located so as to avoid cutting into them or otherwise damaging them.
Test the excavation site for toxic gas, hazardous fumes, and low oxygen levels. Be sure the excavation or the trench is inspected at the beginning of every work shift. Do careful inspections after any rainstorm. Never work under raised loads.
Never enter the area without the right protection. A protection system has to be in place unless the cavity is made of stable rock. If the trench goes deeper than 20 feet, the protective system must be designed by a professional engineer. It also has to be approved by a registered engineer.
These systems involve a degree of shoring such as adding supports made of aluminum or by adding other supports that will keep soil from moving and cave-ins from occurring. Trench boxes are good for preventing soil from caving in. These systems have to be designed professionally by engineers because many complex factors are involved like the water content in the soil, the depth of the cut and the weather.
The greatest hazard when working around excavations is the likelihood of cave-ins. Protect your employees from these dangers by applying the safety guidelines of excavation.