Trenching and Excavation: Occupational Hazards and Safety Tips
Excavation refers to the process of moving earth, rock and other such materials using tools and equipment. It has numerous applications in exploration, mining and construction. Excavation is commonly carried out during the construction of foundations, reservoirs and roads. A trench is a type of excavation that is deeper and narrower, usually dug to install underground infrastructure (gas pipelines, water pipelines and telephone lines). If you are looking for excavator rentals in Sudbury, Equipment North Inc can help. We have an extensive range of compact excavators, ranging from 2,300 lbs to 37,000 lbs.
What You Need to Watch out For
Working in excavations can be extremely dangerous. The process could be made safer by increasing awareness regarding hazards among the workers. Here is a list of some of the risks associated with trenching and excavation:
• Sides of the excavation collapsing
• Materials falling onto the people working in the excavation site
• People or vehicles plummeting into the excavation
• Undermining nearby structures, resulting in their collapse into the excavation
• Damaging underground services (gas and water pipelines) during excavation work, leading to an explosion, gas escape, flooding etc.
Precautions to Be Taken During Trenching and Excavation
The excavation and trenching process should be carefully planned and carried out. You have to make sure that all the equipment and materials required are available on-site before the work starts. Hire a competent supervisor (who understands the risks and precautions to be taken) to handle the work and ensure daily inspections (which are to be documented) are carried out. For excavator rentals in Sudbury, get in touch with Equipment North Inc.
Here are a few safety tips that will help make the excavation and trenching process safer:
• You can pound the sides of a trench to a safe angle or support them with sheeting or proprietary support systems. This would prevent a collapse but has to be done without delay as the work progresses.
• Before hiring the workers, make sure they are competent, experienced and have knowledge regarding the process. Provide them with clear instructions before the work starts.
• Materials such as spoils or plants that have been excavated should not be stored very close to the site as they can fall in. This extra load can also result in the sides of the excavation to collapse.
• Build barriers around the edges of the excavation site to prevent people from falling into it. This is compulsory if the depth of the excavation exceeds 2 metres but is also recommended for lesser depths.
• Keep vehicles away from the excavation site to prevent them from falling into. Barriers should be erected for this purpose and painted so they are easily visible. If vehicles are required to carry materials to the site, prevent them from running over into the excavation by using stop blocks.
• Create a safe access in and out of the excavation site for the workers.
• If you use diesel and petrol equipment in the excavation process, arrange for the exhausts to be channeled away or use forced ventilation.
• You can use cable and pipe locators during the excavation process. Locate all the underground utilities in the excavation site. All new and existing utilities have to be marked by placing permanent markers above the ground. Once you have located all the utilities, ensure that support is provided to them. Practicable digging must take place as far as possible from this location. Make sure that no mechanical means of digging are used within 0.5 metres of underground utilities. You can use spades and shovels to carry out the excavation.
• Take precautions against flooding. Install efficient means of pumping out the excavations; make sure the outflow from the pump doesn’t cause flooding elsewhere.
At Equipment North Inc, we offer excavator rentals to all our clients in Sudbury. Whether you are looking for compact, heavy-duty or small excavators, we have you covered. We also provide mining and underground equipment. For more information on the services we provide, contact us today!