The Importance Of Completing Pre Job Planning Activities When Trenching
Pre-job planning is very important to prevent accidents when trenching. In other words, safety cannot be improvised as the work progresses.
The following concerns must be addressed by a competent person:
- Evaluate soil conditions and select appropriate protective systems.
- Construct protective systems in accordance with the standard requirements.
- Contact utilities (gas, electric) to locate underground lines.
- Plan for traffic control, if necessary.
- Determine proximity to structures that could affect your choice of protective system.
- Test for low-oxygen, hazardous fumes and toxic gas, especially when gasoline engine- driven equipment is running, or the dirt has been contaminated by leaking lines or storage tanks.
- Provide safe access into and out of the excavation.
- Inspect the site daily at the start of each shift, following a rainstorm, or after any other hazard-increasing event.
How can employers avoid hitting underground utility lines and pipes during excavation work?
Before starting work, the Excavation standards require employers to do the following:
- Determine the approximate location(s) of utility installations — including sewer, telephone, fuel, electric, and water lines. One common industry practice is to call 811, the “Call Before You Dig” number, to establish the location of any underground utility installations in the work area. Trenching and Excavation Safety 5
- Contact and notify the utility companies or owners involved to inform them of the proposed work within established or customary local response times.
- Ask the utility companies or owners to establish the location of underground installations prior to the start of excavation work. If they cannot respond within 24 hours (unless the period required by state or local law is longer) or cannot establish the exact location of the utility installations, employers may proceed with caution, which includes using detection equipment or other acceptable means to locate utility installations.
- Determine the exact location of underground installations by safe and acceptable means when excavation operations approach the approximate location of the installations.
- Ensure that while the excavation is open, underground installations are protected, supported or removed as necessary to safeguard workers.