Working in Excavations

Working in Excavations 

Short safety talk on working safely when working in excavations.

Author: Star Refrigeration


                                                                                                            Working in Excavations

Most building works involve some kind of excavations, so you are likely to be working close to
this type of work even if not actually involved.  Sometimes services are installed in trenches
therefore special care is called for on your part.

Excavations, even shallow ones, are like electricity and fire – they can kill very quickly and
with very little warning. Excavations need to be treated with similar respect. The Construction
(Working Places) Regulations deal with excavations in detail. 

Excavation Rules

o A competent person should supervise all excavations. The law requires all excavations to be inspected at least once per day by a competent person. If any excavation is more than 2 metres deep, then inspection should take place once per shift. Every 7 days a ‘thorough’ inspection and written record is necessary.

o Timber for shoring must be available for ALL excavations.

o Ladders must be used for access and egress.  Do not jump into or climb in or out on the timbering supports.  Do not jump across excavations.

o Warning signs and barriers should be placed round all excavations and are compulsory if deeper than 2 metres.

o Never dig mechanically or by hand until a careful investigation using detection equipment has been made for buried services.  When services are known to be close, careful hand digging (no picks) is necessary until the precise position of the service is revealed.

o Keep spoil heaps and other materials well away from the edge of an excavation and ensure that vehicle wheels cannot approach the edge.  Place stop-blocks as a guide to tipper drivers.

o Safety helmets and safety footwear must always be worn during work in excavations.

o Do not alter or remove any supporting member unless you are competent on shoring, or you are under supervision.

o Watch out for the weather forecast. Conditions in a trench can change drastically if it comes on to rain.

o Remember, one cubic metre of earth weighs at least one tonne - more if wet.  In the event of a collapse it could take a strong man one hour to dig you out.

o If your work involves digging – make sure it is not your own grave.

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Last modified: Tuesday, 18 February 2014, 12:26 PM