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6 Ways to Enhance Safety in Trench Projects

June 6, 2019
Inside of a white hard hat.

T&D World has provided six tips for trench safety, highlighting every contractor’s must-haves when creating a safety culture around trenching and excavation work. The article was supplied by United Rentals.

  1. Follow OSHA standards: OSHA specifies safety standards for protecting workers from cave-ins, which are more likely to result in worker fatalities than any other excavation-related accidents. The standards address requirements for sloping, benching, shielding, and shoring, in addition to soil analysis.

  2. Create a written policy: Companies need comprehensive policies that detail safe trench and excavation practices. It should accommodate effective planning and supervision, invite recurring inspections of excavation sites, and confirm adequate support for trenches.

  3. Commit to Training: Companies need to look to resources that offer quality safety training along with support outside the classroom, including job site consultation, engineered designs, and safety equipment. According to the article, lectures with minimal classroom engagement are not enough.

  4. Assign a Competent Person: The competent person is the one person responsible for employee safety. OSHA standards require that one competent person inspect trenches and identify potential hazards, covering every aspect of excavation.

  5. Have the Right Protective Solution: Protective equipment to improve productivity and safety has become significantly more advanced. Examples like lighter-duty shields with high-arch clearance, cut-outs and guide frames, and larger capacity hydraulic bracing give contractors more options to manage project quality and safety.

  6. Build a Safety Culture: Contractors need an OSHA-compliant trench protection system, and an effective training program that is adopted across the board. The article says companies should also look for partnerships to assist when safety decisions are beyond a company’s typical scope of performance or experience.

Source: T&D World 

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