Planning Some Excavation? How To Protect Yourself And Your Crew

If you're going to be doing excavation and trenching work in your yard, you need to make sure that the proper safety measures are carried out. Without proper safety measures, excavation and trenching can lead to serious injuries and fatalities. You may be able to get out from under a few inches of dirt, but if several feet of dirt comes down on you, the results might not be the same. To avoid risking your life, and the life of those who will be working with you, here are four safety precautions you'll need to follow.

Identify the Location of Underground Utilities

Before you start any excavation or trenching project in your yard, you need to identify the location of the underground utilities. Coming in contact with any of those underground utilities could pose a serious risk. You have a wide variety of underground utilities weaving throughout your yard, including electrical wiring gas lines and water pipes. All of these could put your safety in jeopardy if you hit them while you're excavating. Before you begin your project, have the utility companies come out and mark your yard. These marks will allow you to easily identify where each underground utility is located.

Protect the Edges of the Excavation Site

Once you start your project, you'll want to protect the edges of the excavation site. You might not realize this, but the edges can pose the greatest risk to you during the project. Parking your heavy equipment too near to the edges, or piling the dirt right along the edge could lead to a cave-in or collapse of the area you're excavating. If anyone is in the trench when it collapses, they could lose their life. Before you, or your crew climb into the trenches that you're excavating, make sure the edges are clear and secure.

Use Systems to Protect Your Crew

When you and your crew are in the trenches, you'll need to ensure that you have safety measures in place to prevent collapses and cave-ins. There are a couple of effective methods you can use. One of them is sloping, in which the walls of the trench are angled away from the center of the excavation. The other way is benching, in which steps are dug into the sides of the trench. These measures help stabilize the area you're excavating and make it safer for you and your crew.

Ensure Safe Methods for Entering and Exiting the Trench

If you're going to be working inside the trench that you're excavating, you'll need to make sure that you have a way to get out in an emergency. The best way to do that is to place a ladder at each end of the trench. Make sure that the ladders are tall enough to extend out of the trench. That way, you have something to grasp onto as you climb those last few feet out of the trench.

For more information, contact a company like B.C.K. Specialties, Inc.