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Excavation & Trenching Safety Program
This program outlines procedures and guidelines for the protection of employees working in and around excavations and trenches. This program requires compliance with OSHA Standards described in Subpart P (CFR 1926.650) for the construction industry.
Compliance is mandatory to ensure employee protection when working in or around excavations. The programs in this manual on confined space, hazard communication, lock-out/tag-out, respiratory protection, and any other safety programs or procedures deemed essential for employee protection, are to be used in conjunction with this program.
This program pertains to all company projects that require any excavations or trenches.
It is the responsibility of each superintendent and supervisor to implement and maintain the procedures and steps set forth in this program. Each employee involved with excavation and trenching work is responsible to comply with all applicable safety procedures and requirements of this program.
BENCHING - A method of protecting employees from cave-ins by excavating the sides of an excavation to form one or a series of horizontal levels or steps, usually with vertical or near vertical surfaces between levels.
CAVE-IN - The separation of a mass of soil or rock material from the side of an excavation, or the loss of soil from under a trench shield or support system, and its sudden movement into the excavation, either by failing or sliding, in sufficient quantity so that it could entrap, bury, or otherwise injure and immobilize a person.
COMPETENT PERSON - One who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions, which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.
DURATION OF EXPOSURE - The longer an excavation is open, the longer the other factors have to work on causing it to collapse.
EXCAVATION - Any man-made cut, trench, or depression in an earth surface, formed by earth removal.
HAZARDOUS ATMOSPHERE - An atmosphere which by reason of being explosive, flammable, poisonous, corrosive, oxidizing, irritating, oxygen deficient, toxic, or otherwise harmful, may cause death, illness, or injury.
PROTECTIVE SYSTEM - A method of protecting employees from cave-ins, from material that could fall or roll from an excavation, or from the collapse of adjacent structures. Protective systems include support systems, sloping and benching systems, shield systems, and other systems that provide necessary protection.
SHIELD - A structure that is capable of withstanding the forces imposed on it by a cave-in and thereby protects employees within the structure. Shields can be permanent structures or can be designed to be portable and moved along as work progresses. All shields must be in accordance with 29 CFR 1926.652(c)3 or (c)4.
SLOPING - A method of protecting workers from cave-ins by excavating to form sides of an excavation that are inclined away from the excavation to prevent cave-ins. The angle of incline required to prevent a cave-in varies with differences such as soil type, length of exposure, and application of surcharge loads.
SURCHARGE LOADS - Generated by the weight of anything in proximity to the excavation, push starts for a cave-in (anything up top pushing down). Common surcharge loads:
One of the reasons the company requires a competent person on-site during excavation & trenching are the numerous potential hazardous that may be encountered or created. Hazards include:
Before any work is performed and before any employees enter the excavation, a number of items must be checked and insured:
COMPETENT PERSON RESPONSIBILITIES
The OSHA Standards require that the competent person must be capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings, or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and have authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them and, if necessary, to stop the work.
A competent person is required to:
EXCAVATION SAFETY PLAN
An excavation safety plan is required in written form. This plan is to be developed to the level necessary to insure complete compliance with the OSHA Excavation Safety Standard and state and local safety standards.
Excavation safety plan factors:
SOIL CLASSIFICATION AND IDENTIFICATION
The OSHA Standards define soil classifications within the Simplified Soil Classification Systems, which consist of four categories: Stable rock, Type A, Type B, and Type C. Stability is greatest in stable rock and decreases through Type A and B to Type C, which is the least stable. Appendix A of the Standard provides soil mechanics terms and types of field
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