OSHA announced new Special Emphasis Program

 

 

Two workers are killed every month in trench collapses.

 

Since 2003, more than 200 workers have died in trench cave-ins, and hundreds more have been seriously injured.  Although trenching regulations have been in place for over 12 years, cave–ins during excavations are some of the most common and grisliest causes of worker fatalities, especially  in the construction industry, yet they are entirely preventable.

 

When OSHA's compliance officers see a trench, they will inspect a trench.

Because of the severity of trenching hazards, OSHA has announced a Special Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavations.  A Special Emphasis Program sets procedures for increased enforcement activities wherever trenching and excavation worksites are observed.

What are Excavations and Trenches?

An Excavation is any man-made cut, cavity, trench, or depression in an earth surface formed by earth removal.

A Trench is  a narrow excavation (in relation to its length) made below the surface of the ground. In general, the depth is greater than the width, but the width of a trench (measured at the bottom) is not greater than 15 feet.

 

One Cubic Yard of Soil Can Weigh as much as a Car!

Dangers of Trenching and Excavation

Cave-ins pose the greatest risk and are much more likely than other excavation-related accidents to result in worker fatalities. Other potential hazards include falls, falling loads, hazardous atmospheres, and incidents involving mobile equipment. One cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car. An unprotected trench is an early grave. Do not enter an unprotected trench.

Trench Safety Measures

Trenches 5 feet deep or greater require a protective system unless the excavation is made entirely in stable rock. If less than 5 feet deep, a competent person may determine that a protective system is not required. Trenches 20 feet (6.1 meters) deep or greater require that the protective system be designed by a registered professional engineer or be based on tabulated data prepared and/or approved by a registered professional engineer in accordance with OSHA Excavation Standards.

Competent Person. 

OSHA standards require that employers inspect trenches daily and as conditions change by a competent person before worker entry to ensure elimination of excavation hazards. A competent person is an individual who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards or working conditions that are hazardous, unsanitary, or dangerous to workers, soil types and protective systems required, and who is authorized to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate these hazards and conditions.

Access and Egress

Safe access and egress to all excavations is required. This can inclue ladders, steps, ramps, or other safe means of exit for employees working in trench excavations 4 feet or deeper.  These devices must be located within 25 feet  of where people are working.

General Trenching and Excavation Rules

        Keep heavy equipment away from trench edges.

        Identify other sources that might affect trench stability.

        Keep excavated soil (spoils) and other materials at least 2 feet from trench edges.

        Know where underground utilities are located before digging.

        Test for atmospheric hazards such as low oxygen, hazardous fumes and toxic gases when > 4 feet deep.

        Inspect trenches at the start of each shift.

        Inspect trenches following a rainstorm or other water intrusion.

        Do not work under suspended or raised loads and materials.

        Inspect trenches after any occurrence that could have changed conditions in the trench.

        Ensure that personnel wear high visibility or other suitable clothing when exposed to vehicular traffic.

Protective Systems

There are different types of protective systems.

        Benching involves  excavating the sides of an excavation to form on or a series of horizontal levels or steps, usually with vertical or near vertical surfaces between levels.

Note: Benching cannot be done in sandy soil,  gravel,  submerged or unstable rock.

        Sloping involves cutting back the trench wall at an angle inclined away from the excavation.

        Shoring requires installing aluminum hydraulic or other types of supports to prevent soil movement and cave-ins.

        Shielding protects workers by using trench boxes or other types of supports to prevent soil cave-ins. Designing a protective system can be complex because you must consider many factors: soil classification, depth of cut, water content of soil, changes caused by weather or climate, surcharge loads (e.g., spoil, other materials to be used in the trench) and other operations in the vicinity.

 

An Unprotected Trench is an Early Grave!

 

 

 

OSHA, (2011, October 3) OSHA publishes new educational materials on working safely during trenching operations  and Trenching and Excavation Fact Sheet , retrieved October 23, 2011 from  www.osha.gov

8 comments (Add your own)

1. Samira wrote:
Interesting tip on the wrt54g i've been trying to do sntomhieg similar but not sure if it's possible.Currently I have my main lan with a netgear equivalent to the wrt54 although thanks to George's posting last week about running ssh to the router and then running vnc through that I've upgraded the netgear to wrt54g running dd-wrtWhat I'd love to do is have my basement lan which would connect to either the netgear or another wrt54g (if needed) connect wirelessly to the wireless network upstairs and hence out onto the internet. However it looks like the wrt's cant server wireless to other clients if they are in bridged mode or am I misreading it?Looks like Vic's podcast might be handy but unfortunately his site is down and its prompting for the sitebuilder info!

Sat, April 14, 2012 @ 10:10 AM

2. Fatar wrote:
DCM:Glad to hear your neighbor's kid is doing well. We have no beef with the emcidal services Children's provides. Our beef is with the neverending construction. Do you think we should put up with it multiple times for multiple projects because it's a hospital and it's for children? Would you think the same if it was a shopping mall or a train station or something else that doesn't belong in a residential neighborhood? Commercial construction is commercial construction, and the vibration and disturbance are just as annoying no matter what it's for. This is at least the 5th project we've had to put up with in roughly 15 years. Parking garages, multiple new buildings, earthquake wells, you name it, it's been done at least once. Their attitude is screw you, and I now fervently return the sentiment. Do your floors vibrate all day and night? Ours do. Do you feel the vibration in bed? We do. Do you feel the vibration while sitting in your dining room trying to enjoy a meal? We do. Do you have to put napkins and washcloths between your dishes so they don't rattle or break? We do. Have you had to spend several thousand dollars to install air conditioning because the noise and dirt preclude having an open door or window? We have. This is the 5th month and they're still digging holes and moving dirt. Yet another summer ruined thanks to Children's endless, perpetual, annoying, disturbing construction. The needs of the many should be able to be met without destroying the domestic tranquility of those nearby. The very least they can do is save the lives of those children as they spit on the lives of the neighbors.

Sat, April 14, 2012 @ 12:06 PM

3. Takashi wrote:
We live directly arocss the street from the construction. We were told there would be no major weekend work. However, today- saturday May 21 you have dump trucks running and two pieces of heavy equipment running. You are using a jack hammer on one of them. We cannot even crack a window because of the noise. Are we expected to endure this through the summer? Want to be a good neighbor but this is not what we were told was going to happen.

Sat, April 14, 2012 @ 1:14 PM

4. Mhique wrote:
Two blocks must be otdisue the Vibration Zone, where your entire house vibrates every day from early morning until early evening for months on end every time they decide to build something. It's a perpetual construction zone.

Sat, April 14, 2012 @ 4:03 PM

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8. Nyamuk wrote:
Interesting tip on the wrt54g i've been trying to do smnothieg similar but not sure if it's possible.Currently I have my main lan with a netgear equivalent to the wrt54 although thanks to George's posting last week about running ssh to the router and then running vnc through that I've upgraded the netgear to wrt54g running dd-wrtWhat I'd love to do is have my basement lan which would connect to either the netgear or another wrt54g (if needed) connect wirelessly to the wireless network upstairs and hence out onto the internet. However it looks like the wrt's cant server wireless to other clients if they are in bridged mode or am I misreading it?Looks like Vic's podcast might be handy but unfortunately his site is down and its prompting for the sitebuilder info!

Tue, July 17, 2012 @ 9:17 AM

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