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Safety with Regard to Trenches and Excavations


By Ron Parker STS, CHST

Now that we know the differences let’s discuss some important safety aspects.
A safety professional should be involved in prior planning of excavations.  This is to ensure that proper safety procedures are followed.  Below is what I feel is the minimum safety procedures.

Barricades play an important role during excavating and when workers are working in and around excavations.  A stop log or hand signals should be used for mobile equipment when approaching the edge of the excavation and the operator cannot see the edge.  Workers who are exposed to vehicular traffic shall wear highly visible vest.  A type 3 barricade that is sturdy to deter vehicular traffic shall be installed.  This type of barricade can be of a cemetitous product or polyurethane that is filled with water.

Over 800 deaths in the United States each year happen while working in and around excavations.  Most of these deaths are caused due to a cave-in.  Subpart P of the CFR 1926 manual offers a wealth of information concerning safety procedures and materials to use while excavating and working in excavations.




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