Prevent Trenching and Excavation Injuries

Work safety is important in all sectors, but particularly in environments where there is a risk of trenching or excavation injuries. Trench collapses, or cave-ins, pose the most risk to workers’ lives. Following safety procedures is critical for everyone in these work environments.

In this article, we’re sharing some tips from OSHA to help reduce trenching and excavation hazards.

Preventing Cave-ins

The top hazard associated with trenching and excavation work is injury from a cave-in. Before employees enter a trench, a soil analysis should be conducted to determine the best employee protection methods: sloping, benching, shoring, or shielding.

Consider potential struck-by hazards such as heavy equipment, falling loads, and traffic near excavation operations. There also needs to be a safe way to enter and exit the trench. Make sure trenches have cave-in protection. Keep materials away from the edge and never enter a trench unless it has been inspected properly. Be on the lookout for standing water or atmospheric hazards.

Planning Ahead

Due to soil instability, all excavations are hazardous. Workers need to use protective systems and/or equipment when working in trenches or excavations that are five feet or more in depth. Planning ahead by evaluating soil conditions and choosing appropriate protective systems is critical. Test for hazardous atmospheres (low oxygen, toxic gases, hazardous fumes) and ensuring that there is adequate ventilation or respiratory protection. Contact utilities to locate underground lines and plan for traffic control if necessary. Provide appropriate protections if water accumulation is an issue and maintain safe access into and out of the site.

Conduct inspections of the excavation, nearby areas, and protective systems each day at the start of the shift as well as after any hazard increasing event such as a rainstorm.

If you or a loved one has been injured, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.