Excavation Safety: Your Questions Answered

Excavation safety is a standard set of precautions that cover trenching and excavation. These safety rules aim to eliminate risks and hazards per the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) regulations.

Top Excavation Safety Questions and Their Answers

Like anything in the construction industry, trenching safety standards are set to protect workers from injuries. Contractors can also protect themselves from liabilities by maintaining workplace safety standards.

Here are some of the common queries regarding excavation safety you may have in your mind and their corresponding answers:

What is the difference between excavation and trenching?

There is no difference. Trenching is defined as a narrow excavation that is usually deeper as opposed to wide. The term ‘excavation’ encompasses man-made cuts on the earth’s surface. In other words, all trenches are excavations, but not all excavations involve trenches.

What is a ‘competent person?’

According to OSHA, a competent person is any person authorized by the employer to determine and predict hazards on work sites. These include conditions that are unsanitary or hazardous for workers. A competent person can also perform corrective measures to remove such issues and ensure site safety.

Some of the tasks they are responsible for handling include:

  • Soil classification.
  • Conducting site inspections.
  • Evaluating protective systems and designing structural ramps.
  • Monitoring the removal of water systems.

What does pre-planning involve?

Whether an employer is experienced in managing trenching and other excavations, they still need to approach each new site and job as if it is their first. Many accidents on construction sites result from an overconfident or negligent site supervisor who fails to take standard precautions before starting a project.

Corrective actions to rectify on-the-job incidents take up a lot of your time, human resources, and money as operations slow down or reach a standstill. It also increases the likelihood of cave-ins.

What safety factors should employers consider before bidding on a job?

Before bidding, they should research the job site, materials required for safety checks, and ensure they follow OSHA regulations. Some of the factors they should consider beforehand include the following:

  • Site traffic.
  • Weather conditions.
  • Soil classification.
  • Fall protection requirements.
  • Utilities (underground and overhead).
  • The total number of ladders required.
  • Ground and surface water.

What standard excavator requirements should be fulfilled on-site?

An excavator is an essential piece of equipment that is used for trenching and other excavations. However, before it is used, make sure that:

  • The operator has a valid construction license.
  • There is a certified signal or flag man on site.
  • You have all the necessary safety certificates.
  • The excavator is well-maintained.
  • The operator remains aware of blind spots where ground workers are not visible.
  • The excavator only has the operator in it and no other personnel.
  • There are at least two DCP fire extinguishers on site.
  • The bucket lies close to the ground when not in use.
  • The excavator has a spark arrestor that prevents flammable debris from igniting.

These were just some of the excavation safety standards employers should follow to ensure their workers are safe on-site and protect their business from liabilities. However, you cannot predict every risk. That is where construction insurance comes in.

Contact SIA Insurance Group for a Consultation Today!

SIA Insurance Group offers various insurance options for construction businesses and contractors. We understand that no two projects are alike and will work with you to develop a custom package and risk management program that can work for you. Our team comprises experienced and knowledgeable individuals who can provide cost-efficient solutions for small and middle markets. Contact us for a consultation today!



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