No construction project can begin without a thorough and accurate excavation. It is arguably one of the most important aspects of the project, and one that requires a significant amount of care and consideration. Naturally, large and heavy equipment must be used in order to dig out the foundation, which comes with a number of dangers, each of which can be amplified by environmental factors. As such, it is important to follow a strict set of safety guidelines in order to complete the excavation process without any accidents occurring. In this post, we’re going to take you through a number of construction site excavation safety tips.
1 – Inspect trenches daily
Just because you left a trench in good condition the day before, it doesn’t mean that its structural integrity will be the same the next day. So, make sure that you thoroughly inspect the trenches daily and before beginning work anew.
2 – Always check the weather
Every morning before commencing work you should check what the weather has in store for you that day. This way you can be prepared for anything. Obviously, you should be mindful of heavy rainfall and storms.
3 – Ensure that you locate all underground utilities
The last thing you need is to start digging only to cut through power cables or an underground waterpipe. Locate all utilities before commencing work.
4 – Protect your edges
By this we mean: keep heavy equipment away from the edges of your trenches. You don’t want them caving in and causing injury or unnecessary damage to equipment.
5 – Never work beneath raised loads
Under no circumstance should you or a member of your team commence work underneath a raised load. This is just asking for trouble! No matter how secure you think a load is, you should never be beneath it.
6 – Wear your PPE
Everyone on site should be wearing the appropriate personal protection equipment at all times. This should be enforced without discrimination! Particularly when around heavy equipment and digging out trenches.
7 – Always put protective systems in place
Such protective systems include benching, sloping, shoring and shielding. This will significantly reduce the chances of a trench caving in throughout the excavation process and is essential for keeping you and your team safe.
8 – Ensure that planning and implementation is headed up by a qualified member of staff
You can’t let just anyone plan and implement the excavation process. This is something which requires significant experience and training. Of course, it’s perfectly acceptable to have never members of staff shadowing and offering input, but the decision should be signed off by a qualified member of staff.
9 – Conduct atmosphere tests where necessary
No one should be allowed to enter a trench before carrying out atmospheric tests to check oxygen levels and to see if there are any toxic gases present. This is an essentiality which is often overlooked.
10 – Keep a checklist and stick to it
The most effective way of carrying out an excavation safely, is to keep a checklist and to stick to it religiously. The moment you deviate, is the moment mistakes are made and people get hurt.
If you’re not confident in your abilities, experience or the equipment that you have available, then it might be worth hiring the professionals, like Webers Excavations. There’s no shame in seeking professional help, particularly when it comes to something so important and yet irrefutably dangerous.