Excavation may be carried out for a variety of reasons but it is most commonly undertaken as part of new construction projects. If your upcoming construction job requires excavating the job site, safety is one of the things you'll need to prioritize.
Excavating a construction site is an inherently dangerous task that poses serious threats to the safety of construction workers. Before commencing excavation, you'll need to identify potential hazards associated with the job and develop ways to reduce or eliminate them. Here are a few common hazards you may have to address when undertaking excavation at a construction site.
One of the major hazards associated with excavation jobs is coming into contact with energised power lines. Before you can begin excavating, it's important to find out if there are any utility services buried on-site. If buried utilities exist, find out their exact location. This can be achieved using specialised detection equipment.
Buried electricity lines are particularly dangerous because they can cause shocks and burns, in addition to posing fire or explosion hazards. Excavation should incorporate safe digging practices that eliminate the risk of contact with underground electric cables.
The risk of collapse
Bulk excavations require structural support to prevent the walls from collapsing. When unprotected excavations collapse, anyone engulfed by soil can die from asphyxiation. Where a significant risk of collapse exists, measures must be taken to maintain the structural stability of excavations. These include but are not limited to:
- Educating workers on safe work protocols for ground support works.
- Installing a ground support system for the excavation.
- Installing signs and barriers to prevent the public from accessing the edge of the site.
In addition to taking steps to minimize the risk of collapse, you must also have an emergency response plan for handling collapsed excavations.
Hazards associated with using heavy excavation equipment
Large jobs undertaken on construction sites usually require the use of heavy excavation equipment. If not operated properly, these pieces of equipment themselves can pose a threat to the safety of workers. Make sure all of your excavation machines are operated by trained and competent persons only. They know the safest way to get work done while using the equipment.
The best way to ensure your excavation job is done properly and safely is to leave the job to an expert. Excavation contractors are the professionals you need to hire to get the job done correctly the first time. Feel free to contact them today to discuss your project.