Excavation can be considered as the underdog of the global development sector. Every new development project of a new building or living settlement starts with a thorough excavation phase to put in the foundations for future development. However, the contractors and employees that perform this important phase of development are also prone to serious lethal dangers while working. Conducted researches tell us that close to 25 fatalities occur each year due to excavation-related incidents. These incidents could range from cave-ins to being hit by falling objects; workers face possible dangers every day while working.
Soil-related dangers are by far the most accountable for worksite incidents in the excavation field. But that does not mean that it is the only one. The potential dangers include hitting an unknown gas line, unknown underground energy lines, and many others. With the need for development rapidly changing and increasing, it is giving rise to new dangerous situations that can cause substantial damage to the livelihood of many workers.
It is necessary for project managers and the upper hierarchy of any excavation organization to monitor the work environment of any project site. They need to have set protocols that are implemented every day that ensure the safety of the workers during any excavation project. Following are some foundational points to keep in mind while devising safety protocols.
- Complete Analysis of the Job site
The start of any excavation project has to involve a complete assessment of the project site and also a thorough assessment of the soil that will be encountered. There are many types of soils, and depending on which one is present on the site, accommodating protocols need to be set. Knowing what kind of soil is present is the first step to determining the dangers faced by the workers.
There are four classifications of soil which include:
- Type A consists of mostly the different variants of clay soil such as silty clay, sandy clay, and clay loam
- Type B consists of gravel variants such as angular gravel, silt loam, and soil that is fissured or is present near sources of vibration.
- Type C consists of granular soil that consists of non-sticking particles
- Type D consists of stable rocks
Testing the soil requires the dirtying of hands to assure the results are accurate. Tests such as visual tests and dry strength tests need to be performed to check the type of soil involved.
- Constant Monitoring
The working conditions on an excavation site can change abruptly without any notice. Therefore it is necessary to monitor the site constantly to ensure that there are no changes occurred that might have lethal impacts. Drastic changes include a change in temperature and a change in equipment.
Periodic checks have to be made to the structural integrity of the trench support to ensure that there are no breaks or cracks in it.
There are many more ways one can better enable the safety of the workers on an excavation site. However, these are the fundamental two points that need to take priority for any project leader.