Excavation safety is critical because cave-ins are one of the leading causes of death in construction. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trench collapse accidents claim an average of 10 lives each year.
Trenches can collapse when there is too much weight on the walls or when the walls themselves are not strong enough. Excavation safety is therefore all about preventing cave-ins through a combination of good engineering practices, soil testing, and careful monitoring of excavations.
Who Needs to Worry About Excavation Safety?
If you’re planning any type of excavation on your property – whether it’s for a new construction project or simply to remove some debris – you need to be aware of the potential dangers and take steps to ensure everyone’s safety. Excavation accidents can cause serious injuries or even death, so it’s important to take precautions and always follow best practices.
Key Considerations for Excavation Safety
There are several key excavation safety principles that should be followed in order to prevent cave-ins:
- Understand the conditions: This starts by using an underground service locator to ensure the excavation site is free from underground pipes and wires. These underground services are not only expensive to repair but change the conditions of the ground. Different types of soils have different strengths and capacities. It is important to know the type of soil you are dealing with in order to determine the stability of the excavation.
- Use good engineering practices: Excavations should be designed and constructed using sound engineering principles. This includes choosing the right type of support system for the soil conditions and making sure that the supports are installed correctly.
- Test the soil: Soil testing is essential in order to determine the strength of the soil and its capacity to support the weight of the excavation. There are several different methods of testing, and a qualified engineer should be consulted to ensure that the tests are performed correctly.
- Monitor excavations carefully: Excavations should be monitored on a regular basis to look for any signs of instability. This can include cracks in the walls, bulging of the walls, or movement of the soil. If any of these signs are present, the excavation should be immediately shored up or supported to prevent a collapse.
Excavation safety is critical in order to prevent accidents and save lives. By following these key principles, you can help keep your excavation site safe.