Excavation safety is paramount, especially on a construction site.
Most times, excavation occurs when there is a need to build a physical structure or lay a foundation.
However, excavation collapse is the main excavation hazard. When there is an excavation collapse, the loose soil may bury the person or any material within the vicinity.
- The collapse of the excavation.
- Exposure to buried services such as electricity cables, soak-away pits, and drainage pipes.
- Exposure to overhead electrical cables.
- Falls into excavation or trenches.
- Unstable adjacent structures.
Excavation Safety: What can you do to promote excavation safety today?
- Get the service of a competent person who knows about soil analysis for the excavation activity.
- Inspect all equipment for the excavation e.g the excavator, backhoe loader, etc. Always use the equipment if they are in good condition.
- Always provide a safe means of access for excavations. Most especially, when they are deeper than 4 feet. Encourage the use of ladders, ramps or stairways.
- If excavations are to be in places where we have vehicular movement, all workers have to wear a visibility vest.
- Consider shoring, sheeting or sloping or trench box in excavation to prevent cave-in or collapse.
- Keep all excavated materials or debris away from the edge of the excavation.
- Appropriate use of personal protective equipment for all persons in the excavation activity.
- Carry out daily inspections of all excavations on-site by the supervisors.
- Take note of all buried services within the area before the excavation.
- Put all mobile equipment away from the excavation. Consider packing the equipment away from the excavation.
- Keep unauthorized workers and visitors away from the excavation using barricades or caution tape.
- Put appropriate safety signs showing safe practices and ensure they are visible to persons.
- Most excavation needs a permit to work. However, sign and authorise all work permits before the start of work.
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Onyeka Emma is a QHSE Professional, a business person, and an entrepreneur. He is very passionate about health and safety, Business and Entrepreneurship.