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Safe Digging Tips for Excavators Part 1

Your project has been approved and you are ready to prepare the land for construction. It’s time for your excavation crew to get to work. However, before they get started, it is important to consider the safety of these workers. Afterall, excavation is considered one of the most dangerous construction operations. Our Clearwater construction attorneys encourage you to read on for some helpful tips for making excavation work safe at the construction site. Read part two to learn more.

Hazards Associated With Excavation Work

Excavation work exposes workers to serious risks which can include falling, tripping, objects collapsing on workers, exposure to underground power lines or toxic substances, and vehicle-related incidents. Workers should never enter an unprotected trench because the weight of the soil is enough to kill.

Best Practices

A pipeline operator must be contacted immediately if a pipeline is damaged in any way. Hitting, scraping, or any other perceived damage to a pipeline must be evaluated before proceeding. Additionally, workers must know the signs of a leak which involves watching, listening, and smelling. If a leak occurs, evacuate the area immediately and call 911. Other safe practices according to OSHA safety standards include:

  • Identify underground utilities before digging
  • Inspect trenches at the start of each shift
  • Keep heavy equipment away from trench edges
  • Keep excavated materials at least 2 feet from trench edges
  • When more than 4 feet deep, test for atmospheric hazards (I.e., oxygen, hazardous fumes, and toxic gases)
  • Do not work under suspended or raised loads and materials
  • Inspect trenches after any occurrence that could have changed conditions in the trench (i.e., rainstorm, water intrusion)
  • Wear appropriate safety gear and high visibility clothing
  • Use appropriate protective systems to increase worker safety

Other reasonable precautions include plans for entering and exiting excavation, using the proper tools and equipment, contributors to soil vibration, and consider any known environmental hazards.

If you would like to speak with a Clearwater construction attorney please contact us at 813.579.3278, or submit our contact request form.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.