One of the shocking things about the number of deaths each year that are attributed to trench collapses is that most of them probably could have been prevented. To prevent fatal accidents you should provide workers with appropriate safety training and strictly enforce safe excavation practices. There are many factors that need to be considered in the planning stages not the day you start the project. Train a specific individual to oversee each excavation job and properly enforce specific safety regulations.
One of the first steps is to contact utility companies to verify before you dig to get proper mark-outs for gas, electric, and water lines. Have a Competent Person on the site examine soil stability. Develop and have employees practice a trench collapse emergency plan. Before work begins and throughout each workday, the Competent Person or the safety enforcement employee should recheck the excavation site for soil and safety apparatus stability, especially after a rain shower or storm. Trench exit ladders should never be over 25 feet away from the workers inside. Notify subcontractors of the trench location and make sure they keep vehicles and other heavy equipment at a safe distance from the trench. Closely monitor the trench for hazards other than cave-ins such as noxious gases, unstable edges, or rigging hazards. Instruct workers to never enter a trench, even for a short period, without taking proper precautions. Owners and clients should be notified of your trench safety practices and adhere to regulations when visiting the site. Teach employees about trench collapse warning signs, but also that these signs may not present themselves before an incident. Devise a job site layout plan that specifically designated areas where it is safe to place spoil piles and transport heavy equipment.
While having necessary protective materials to perform job tasks safely is crucial, it does no good unless workers are in fact using them. Often during the investigation process is discovered that they had the necessary trench boxes however because of inconvenience or to save time they were not being used. Your organization has the moral and legal obligation to protect workers, and protecting the lives of workers in trenching and excavation is pivotal to ensuring the productivity, engagement, and profitability that your everyone from executive to contractor deserves. Allen Trench Safety provides trench boxes and shoring with both rental and purchase options. Discover more throughout our website.