The month of May brings sunshine, blue skies, and the perfect conditions for trenching and excavating. While some people will be thinking of planning summer vacation time with their
families, workers in the construction field will be planning excavations on the jobsite they’re working on. Whether these excavations are big or small, safety hazards exist so they must be properly planned, identified, and discussed before we break ground.
Approximately 95 people die every year in excavations and accidents are 15 times more likely to cause death than all other construction
tragedies, so proper planning is crucial.
Color codes for marking utilities:
Here are some safe work practices we need to consider prior to digging:
• Do we need a GPR (Ground Penetrating Radargram) survey to locate utilities that are live or hidden beneath the soil, do we need to call Miss Dig or hand dig?
• Do we have an approved excavation permit and location plan submitted and signed by site project team, engineering, environmental, and a competent person?
• Do workers know the safety hazards written in the JSA or Pre Task Plan and does it cover hazards like: Soil classification per MIOSHA, hazardous atmospheres, and what type of system is needed to protect workers from cave-in’s?
• Weather conditions might have been great during the day, but did it rain over night and did a competent person evaluate the soil conditions the next day?
• Having a daily pre- job meeting at the excavation location to discuss safety hazards, utility markings, and coordinating with nearby trades is a great way to plan and prepare before you dig.