Trenching and excavation are one of the most hazardous operations on a construction site – and for good reason. Workers can experience cave-ins, asphyxiation and blunt force trauma from heavy tools or equipment falling into trenches onto workers. As the one responsible for workers’ safety, you need to ensure your construction site is free of hazards or face consequences in court.
Here are some safety tips for construction workers:
- No one should be allowed to enter an unprotected trench.
- Make sure all heavy-duty equipment is placed as far back from the trench as possible. Loose soil and other materials removed from the ground should be placed at least two (2) feet away from the sides of the trench. If the site does not allow this, materials should be moved to another location until work is complete.
- The trenches should be inspected daily before any work starts on them and especially after a heavy storm or anything which may weaken it. This should be performed by a professional who can determine hazards in and around the construction site and who has authority to do so.
- All personnel who are working in and around the excavation site should wear highly visible clothing to prevent accidents from excavators.
- Workers should not be allowed to work underneath suspended loads.
- Make sure all trenches on the site are tested for oxygen levels and hazardous fumes before workers enter them.
- Everyone on the site should wear hard hats – regardless if they are working on the site or only visiting.
- Contact the local utility companies before excavations start so they can mark buried lines. This will keep your crew safe, prevent costly repairs and disruptions. You can also avoid hefty fines. The national phone number to have someone come out and mark buried lines is 811.
Here are other excavation safety tips to prevent casualties and liabilities.
You can significantly reduce onsite risk on construction sites, reduce operation costs and increase your profits if you have a risk management plan in place. This is where SIA Insurance Group can help. We can help you maximize your insurance coverage and reduce your risks to improve your bottom line. We understand the commercial and residential construction industry inside and out and can come up with a custom plan that fits your needs.