Site development, whether for commercial or residential projects, poses plenty of safety hazards. Two areas that require the most attention to avoid site accidents or even mortalities are trenching and excavation. It’s common to think that the excavators on-site can control the dirt they’re moving around 100 percent. In fact, the only dirt you can guarantee the operator can control is what’s in their bucket. Otherwise, the dirt on the site poses safety threats to all subcontractors on or near the site. This is why Claystone Construction takes site preparation, planning, safety, and operations in Loveland seriously.
What’s The Difference Between Excavating and Trenching
Excavation is typically defined as any man-made cut, trench, depression, or cavity in the earth’s surface. In most cases, these types of excavation are defined as earth removal tasks. Trenching is a sub category in excavation, which is typically defined as a narrow excavation that’s deeper than it is wide. With these two definitions in mind, all trenches are excavation but not all excavation are trenches.
5 Excavation Safety Hazards
#1 – Falling Loads or Falls
Once land has been excavated there will be different levels of earth. This naturally imposes falling hazards in and around the work site. Falling loads can range from items or dirt falling out of a bucket to a backhoe sliding into a trench. Workers on the site need to watch where they work and travel. An unseen trench can be extremely dangerous for a worker to fall into.
#2 – Cave-Ins
Did you know that trench cave-ins kill on average two workers per month across the nation? It’s imperative you and your excavating company in Loveland take the necessary precautions to prevent cave-ins; thus, prevent unnecessary injuries or casualties on-site. Here are some common systems that help prevent cave-ins:
- Trench Supports
- Excavation Shields
- Sloped Land
#3 – Gas and Other Hazardous Atmospheres
It may surprise you, but trenches can have depleted oxygen levels. Once dirt is removed, the deep space can be dangerous for workers to descend without respirators. Furthermore, if there is toxic chemicals or gases present, workers can put their health at risk without the proper equipment.
#4 – Utility Lines
If a utility line is hit, it can cause electrocution or gas leaks. This puts everyone on-site at risk. It’s extremely important to mark utility lines, notify everyone on-site of line locations, and actively monitor the work on-site. These three steps will help avoid hitting utility lines and keep all workers safe. If you’re not sure where a utility line may run through the land, give your local 811 agency a call.
Any type of mobile machinery or vehicles pose a hazard to other mobile entities and the workers on-site. Operators need to do their due diligence when moving around the project site. The workers on-site also need to stay aware of where the dump trucks, backhoes, and trucks are located at all times.
Are you a general contractor developing land? Want to get your excavation done right the first time? Contact Claystone Construction in Fort Lupton today! We serve Loveland and the rest of the Front Range in Colorado.