If you are planning on excavating and trenching for construction work on your property, you must think about worksite safety. Open trenches can be highly dangerous if they are not correctly secured. For instance, if you do not enforce protective measures, a trench could cave in, causing grave injury to the workers in the vicinity. Therefore, you should review your workplace and establish safety strategies before beginning the excavation work. Here are essential tips for improving safety during your trenching project.
Plan for Trench Shoring
It is important to shore your trenches to prevent potential collapsing of the excavated ground. In general, shoring involves bracing the internal walls of the excavated trenches. When done correctly, it will limit the risk of cave-ins, especially in high-risk areas. You can acquire different types of trench shoring equipment. However, the most popular option is using hydraulic pistons with steel plates. You can also use a steel and beam system to support the walls.
Inspect the Trenches
You should plan for inspection of the trenches. This practice is beneficial because you will be able to identify any weaknesses, minimising the potential risks to workers. Under normal circumstances, the trench should be checked out before any shift. This is a precaution in case a problem occurred during the previous work session. It is also important to carry out a thorough trench evaluation if there are any environmental changes. For instance, if there is a storm, you should make sure that the trenches are still in good condition before proceeding with the construction project.
Think About Trench Exit
You should train your workers for a safe exit. In simple terms, you should not assume the trenches are perfect after taking precautions such as shoring. The risk of collapse is low if you have protective measures, but you cannot afford to be careless. Therefore, you should develop a plan so that workers working around and in the trenches will be able to leave quickly if something happens. Conduct a few drills during the training.
Avoid Unprotected Trenches
Finally, you must avoid construction processes in deep and unprotected trenches. This precaution is crucial unless your trench is made completely out of stable rock. Remember, if a trench is not shored or otherwise protected, loads on the edges will present a risk for collapse. For instance, if heavy construction machines are brought close to the edge of the excavated area, the entire structure could fall apart, putting your onsite workers at risk.