Excavation safety

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Excavation safety

  1. 1. Texas Department of InsuranceExcavation Safety Provided by Division of Workers’ Compensation HS98-121C (7-06)
  2. 2. ContentsGeneral Requirements __________________________________________________________________ 3Introduction____________________________________________________________________________ 3Definitions_____________________________________________________________________________ 3Specific Requirements _________________________________________________________________ 3-4Conclusion_____________________________________________________________________________ 4Soil Classification ______________________________________________________________________ 4Introduction____________________________________________________________________________ 4Soil Mechanics _______________________________________________________________________ 4-5Testing________________________________________________________________________________ 4 Manual Testing _____________________________________________________________________ 5 Dry Strength _______________________________________________________________________ 5 Thread Test ________________________________________________________________________ 5 Ribbon Test ________________________________________________________________________ 5 Thumb Penetration Test _______________________________________________________________ 5Mechanical Devices _____________________________________________________________________ 5Protective Systems _____________________________________________________________________ 6Introduction____________________________________________________________________________ 6Background ____________________________________________________________________________ 6Requirements __________________________________________________________________________ 6Sloping and Benching ____________________________________________________________________ 6Shoring and Shield Systems _______________________________________________________________ 6 Shoring____________________________________________________________________________ 6 Shielding __________________________________________________________________________ 7Final Safety Requirement _________________________________________________________________ 7Excavation Safety Quiz__________________________________________________________________ 7Test answers ___________________________________________________________________________ 8Resources _____________________________________________________________________________ 8Excavation Safety Training Documentation_________________________________________________ 9Exhibits ___________________________________________________________________________ 10Figure 1 - Simple Slope Excavation _________________________________________________________11Figure 2 - Simple Bench Excavation_________________________________________________________11Figure 3 - Hydraulic Shoring ______________________________________________________________12 2
  3. 3. General RequirementsIntroduction This guide will provide information on the Occupational hours advance notice. Give them as much lead time asSafety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) general safety possible. When located, the utility must be physicallyrequirements for excavation work as published in 29 Code of and cautiously exposed.Federal Regulations 1926 Subpart P. Once the utility is uncovered, it becomes your responsibility to support, protect or have the utilityDefinitions removed as necessary. Locating all buried utilities that• Competent person - One who is capable of identifying cross or parallel your route may be time-consuming, existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or but failure to do so could have serious consequences. working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or In Dallas, there are an average of 98 utility-crossings dangerous to employees and who has authorization to in a city block. The consequences of digging into a take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them. petroleum gas line or buried electrical utility could be• Excavation - Any man-made cut, cavity, trench, or fatal but preventable. depression made in the earth’s surface formed by earth • Access and egress - Any trench or excavation four feet removal. or deeper must have a means of exit. Ladders and/or• Registered Professional Engineer - Any person who by ramps must be located no more than 25 feet from any education and training, having passed the requirements employee while he or she is in the excavation. Another for registration, is registered as a professional engineer good safety practice is to ensure that ladders extend in the state in which work is being performed. three feet above the surface of the excavation and be tied• Trench - A narrow excavation made below the surface off if possible. of the ground. In general the depth is greater than the • Exposure to vehicular traffic - Workers exposed to width, but the width is no greater than 15 feet. vehicular traffic must wear “high visibility” vests or• Trench shield - A structure that is able to withstand the clothing. forces imposed on it by a cave-in and thereby protect • Exposure to falling loads - Under no condition should workers within the structure. workers be permitted under loads handled by lifting• Shoring - A structure such as a metal hydraulic, or digging equipment. Workers must stand away from mechanical, or timber system that supports the sides of vehicles being loaded or unloaded. Vehicle operators an excavation and is designed to prevent cave-ins. may stay in their vehicles during loading or unloading, provided they are protected by a cab constructed inSpecific Requirements accordance with 29 CFR 1926.601(b)(6). A basic rule for excavation is, “plan your dig, then dig your • Warning systems - All mobile equipment (front-endplan.” If you encounter something unplanned for, then stop loaders, bulldozers and dump trucks) must be equippedand replan. with a warning device such as a backup alarm if the Before you dig, know everything possible about the excava- operator does not have a clear and direct view of thetion route. Have the route surveyed and mapped. Although edge of the excavation. Some other good safety practicesOSHA does not require soil borings, it is good engineering are use of hand signals from a flag person, stop logs,practice to conduct soil borings to determine soil classes barricades or other mechanical signals. An attentivealong the route. A soil-boring log provides information on operator and a flag person who knows and uses properthe water table and possible soil contamination from leaking hand signals provide the safest method.under-ground storage tanks. • Hazardous atmospheres - In excavations deeper than The following specific requirements for excavation are four feet with the potential for a hazardous atmospherefound in 29 CFR 1926.651. or oxygen deficiency, conduct air testing before workers enter the excavation and as often as necessary to ensure• Surface encumbrances - includes trees, signs, the atmosphere remains safe. Ventilation or respiratory sidewalks, power poles, parking lots, and walls which protection may be needed to protect workers from must be removed, braced, shored, or otherwise supported harmful atmospheres. to prevent a hazard. • Water accumulation hazards - Workers must not• Underground utilities - such as sewer, water, gas lines, work in excavations where water is accumulating communications, and electric lines must be identified, unless adequate precautions are taken to protect these and physically located. Call the local area utility locator workers from these hazards. This protection involves company, give them the location or the route and depth specific shoring, water removal (to control the level of of the proposed excavation and request utility locations. accumulating water), use of lifelines, harnesses, and Usually the locator company requires a minimum of 48 careful monitoring by a competent person. 3
  4. 4. • Stability of adjacent structures - Excavation below a situation that could result in possible cave-ins, the base or footing of a foundation, wall, sidewalk, indications of failure of the protective system, hazardous pavement, or other structure is not permitted unless atmospheres, or other hazardous conditions. The • shoring or bracing is provided to prevent cave-in inspections shall be done prior to start of work and as • excavation is in stable rock often as needed throughout the shift. Inspections shall be made after every rainstorm or other hazard-increasing • a registered professional engineer determines the occurrence. structure is far enough away that the excavation is not affected or that the excavation will not pose a threat When an inspection finds evidence of a situation that could result in a hazard to the worker, exposed workers will be removed to the workers from the hazardous area until necessary precautions have been• Loose rock and soil protection - Excavated earth made to ensure their safety. (spoil), materials, tools, and equipment shall be placed • Fall protection - Where personnel and/or equipment no closer than two feet from the edge of the excavation. must cross an excavation, a walkway or bridge shall be Rock and soil should be scaled off the face of the engineered to withstand the maximum expected load. excavation or retained by shoring or other acceptable methods to prevent the material from falling and striking The walkway or bridge shall be provided with standard guardrails that meet OSHA standards outlined in 29 CFR 1926 workers. Subpart M. All excavations in a remote location or unattended Good work practice should dictate that no person will work should have adequate barriers or physical protection to preventon the sides of the slope or benched excavation above other people from falling into the excavation.workers unless the lower workers are protected from falling Upon completion, backfill all trenches, wells, pits, or shaftsmaterials. If possible and practical, grade the slope away from as soon as practical.the excavation. This serves a dual purpose of keeping equip-ment and vehicles from accidentally rolling into the excavation Conclusionand directing rain water away from the excavation Even with the introduction of new equipment and strict OSHA 1926.100(a) requires the use of hard hats where there enforcement of OSHA standards, many workers die each yearis a possible danger of head injury from falling objects. Exca- and many more are seriously injured in trench accidents.vation operations expose workers to these hazards in every Being buried alive is just one of the hazards of excava-work zone during excavation. tion. This program covers only 9the general requirements of• Inspections - A competent person must inspect the excavation safety. Following the safety measures listed in this excavation and its support system for evidence of publication and not taking shortcuts will make a dangerous job safer.Soil ClassificationIntroduction This section will provide information on soil mechanics, Soil types include:procedures to reduce the possibilities of cave-ins during exca- Type A soil - This is the most stable soil and is composed ofvation, identifying the four Occupational Safety and Health clay, silty clay, clay loam and sandy clay. It has an unconfinedAdministration (OSHA) soil classifications, and simple soil compressive strength of 1.5 tons per square foot (t/sf) or greater.identification tests and procedures. Type A soil is very cohesive. Unfortunately, people wrongly One cubic yard of dirt weighs an average of 2,700 pounds, assume it is stable and will not collapse if not shored.and a cave-in is like dropping a small car from one foot above No soil, no matter the composition or apparent stability, can beyour head. To excavate and trench safely, you must know classified as Type A soil if the soil is fissured or subject to vibra-about soil mechanics and how to slope and shore. Horizontal tion from traffic, equipment, or other excavation activities.and vertical forces within the earth keep undisturbed soil inplace. An excavation disturbs or eliminates these forces. Soil Soil cannot be classed as Type A soil if layers dip into thenaturally moves downward and inward. A number of fac- excavation on a slope of four feet horizontal to one foot verticaltors govern how fast this occurs, such as soil type, moisture, or there are other factors, such as seeping water, that wouldvibration and surface loading. make the soil less than stable. Type B soil - This cohesive soil is composed of silt, siltySoil Mechanics loam, sandy loam, and granular cohesive solids including The type of soil governs the stability of the excavation. angular gravel (crushed rock). It has an unconfined strengthOSHA requires that soil classification be made by a competent greater than 0.5 tons per square foot but less than 1.5 tonsperson and installation of adequate protective equipment be per square foot.made before workers enter the excavation. 4
  5. 5. Type C soil - Type C soil – This is the least stable soil. It Dry Strengthis a noncohesive soil composed of granular soils, including If the soil is dry and crumbles on its own or with moderatesand, gravel, loamy sand, submerged soil or soil from which pressure into individual grains or fine powder, it is granularwater is draining, submerged rock, or soil in a sloped layered (any combination of gravel, sand or silt). If the soil is dry andsystem where the layers dip into the excavation at a slope of falls into clumps which break up into smaller clumps, butfour feet horizontal to one foot vertical or greater. It has an the smaller clumps can only be broken up with difficulty, itunconfined compressive strength of 0.5 tons per square foot may be clay in any combination with gravel, sand or silt. Ifor less. the dry soil breaks into clumps which do not break up into Stable rock - This natural solid mineral material can small clumps and which can only be broken with difficulty,be excavated with vertical sides and remains intact while and there is no visual indication the soil is fissured, the soilexposed. may be considered unfissured. Thread test (plasticity)Testing This determines whether a sample is cohesive. Roll a sample When making a site soil classification, the competent person of the soil between the palms of your hands to about one-eighthconducts both visual and manual tests. Factors to examine inch diameter thread at least several inches long.are: Place the rolled soil thread on a flat surface and pick up by• Soil particle size - Usually there is a mixture of sizes. one end. If the sample holds together for two inches without The percentage of sand to silt and clay determines the breaking, it is considered cohesive. soil type.• Grain size - If a grain of soil is larger than a #2 pencil Ribbon Test lead, it is classified as gravel. If it is smaller, but can be This is another test for cohesiveness and is used as a back-up seen by the unaided eye, it is classified as sand. Clay test for the thread test. Roll a representative soil sample into and silt particles cannot be seen without the use of a a cylinder about three-fourths inch in diameter and several microscope. A general statement is the larger the grain inches in length. Then squeeze this sample between thumb size the less stable the soil. and forefinger into a flat unbroken ribbon one-fourth to one- eighth inch thick, which is allowed to fall freely over the• Soil that clumps and holds together when dug out is fingers. If the ribbon does not break off before several inches most likely to be clay or silt. are squeezed out, the soil is considered cohesive.• Cracks in walls of the excavation, with material spilling off (slabs of soil falling off the sides) indicates Type B or Thumb Penetration Test C soil. The thumb penetration test estimates the unconfined com-• Standing water or water seeping out of the bottom or pressive strength of cohesive soils and is based on testing trench walls automatically classifies the soil as Type C. described in the American Society for Testing and Materials• Layered soil adjacent to roadways or buildings, disturbed (ASTM) standard D2488. Take a soil sample collected from a soil, or soil exposed to a source of vibration, requires a freshly dug soil clump from the spoil pile. Press your thumb soil classification to be made by a registered professional against the sample. If the sample is readily indented by your engineer. thumb but penetration can be done only by using great effort, then the soil is classified as Type A. If penetration occurs to Manual Testing the base of the thumb nail and is accomplished with moderate Protective system requirements are based on the results of difficulty, then it is Type B. If the sample can be penetratedtesting. Never enter an unprotected excavation to obtain a easily several inches by the thumb, and if it can be moldedsoil sample. Take the soil sample from freshly dug material by light finger pressure, then the soil is Type C. Drying thein the spoil pile. The tests should be done as soon as possible sample can greatly influence the results of this test. Performto preserve the sample’s natural moisture. this test immediately after taking the sample. Mechanical Devices Mechanical devices for determining soil type include the pocket penetrometer and the hand-operated vane shear pen- etrometer. Operation of the device and interpretation of the results are found in the manual or literature furnished by the manufacturer of these devices. For a complete discus- sion of soils and testing, refer to the 29 CFR 1926 Subpart P, Appendix A. 5
  6. 6. Protective SystemsIntroduction This section will provide information on protective sys- When these factors are present the excavation, whethertems used to reduce the possibilities of fatalities and injuries benched or sloped, must be re-inspected for signs of dis-from cave-ins during excavations. Information on sloping and tress.benching techniques for every soil type and methods of using Distress signs include:shoring and trench box equipment will also be provided. • Cracking excavation walls;Background • Cracks in the surface soil 1/2 to 3/4 the distance back Except in stable rock, the Occupational Safety and Health from the excavation as the excavation is deep;Administration requires workers to be protected against thedanger of cave-ins in trenches and/or excavations that are five • Bulging of the trench wall; andfeet or deeper. There are four recognized methods of protec- • Sloughing off of clods or small sections from the trenchtion: sloping, benching, shoring and shielding (trench box). wall.The use of any of these methods or combinations of these All of these indicate an imminent danger of cave-in. If anymethods are governed by factors such as space, soil types, of these signs are observed, employees shall be directed todepth, speed, and expense. evacuate the excavation and the slope shall be cut back furtherRequirements or a mechanical protective system installed. OSHA states, “each employee in an excavation shall be Shoring and Shield Systemsprotected from cave-ins by an adequate protective system.” Shoring and shield systems are protective measures that There are only two exceptions when a protective system is add support to an excavation.not required: (1) excavation made entirely in stable rock; or (2)excavation less than five feet deep which has been examined The safest system is one that can be installed and removedby a competent person who determined there is no indication without personnel entering the excavation.for a potential cave-in. ShoringSloping and Benching This system is designed to prevent excavation failure (cave- Sloping is a protective measure that cuts the walls of the ins) by supporting trench walls with a system of verticalexcavation back at an angle from the floor to produce a stable uprights and/or sheeting and Cross braces (shores). Shores areslope. The slope angle is based on soil type. The flatter the angle structures that cross the trench and put pressure on the verticalof the slope, the greater the protection factor for the employee uprights and sheeting (see Figure 3). Shoring methods range(see Figure 1). from timber shoring to aluminum hydraulic devices that bear • Type A Soil: The ratio is 3/4 ft. horizontal for every foot directly on the wall of the trench and transmit approximately vertical (53° from the horizontal) 1500 pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure to pre-load the soil. This pressure preloading produces the so called “arch • Type B Soil: The ratio is 1 ft. horizontal for every foot effect” that stabilizes the trench wall and prevents a cave- vertical (45° from the horizontal) in. Information on timber shoring methods can be obtained • Type C Soil: The ratio is 11/2 ft. horizontal for every one from 29 CFR 1926, Subpart P, Appendix C. Appendix D has foot vertical (34° from the horizontal) information for aluminum hydraulic shoring. Benching is the process of cutting benches or steps into Some safety requirements for using aluminum hydraulicthe excavation (see Figure 2). The angle used for benching shoring are as follows:is based on a ratio of horizontal to vertical cuts. It should be • Installation and removal of the shoring is done fromnoted that benching is reserved only for cohesive soils. outside of the excavation. It is not permissible to bench Type C soil because of its • Individual shores (elements) are pressurized and depres-inability to support a vertical wall. Type C soils always require surized slowly to prevent failure of the remaining shoresthe use of sloping, shielding, or shoring. or collapse of the excavation walls. Factors like these make soil less stable: • Data provided by the manufacturer is tabulated and • Vibration from machinery or traffic; designed by a registered professional engineer (PE). • Exposure to rain or flooding; This information and procedures for use must be followed regardless of soil classifications. Any modification must be • Periods of low humidity (drying); and made by a registered professional engineer and approved in • Soil loading from overburden or equipment. writing and sealed. 6
  7. 7. Shielding A trench shield is an engineered metal box that is placed • Workers shall not be allowed inside the shield or to ridein the excavation. It does not provide structural strength to on the shield, when the shield is being installed, removedthe excavation, but provides workers a safe worksite that pro- or moved vertically.tects them from collapsing material. A registered professional • Shield structure shall extend a minimum of 18 inchesengineer must design the trench shield or trench box system above the lip of the excavation when used in conjunctionwhich can be premanufactured or built on site as necessary. with a sloped or benched excavation.Regardless of where they are built, they must be constructedto exact engineering specifications. There are several safety • Excavation may be permitted up to a depth of 2 feet belowrequirements when using a trench box: the bottom of the shield provided the shield is designed to resist the forces calculated for the full depth of the trench • Shields must be installed in a manner that restricts side- and there is no indication while the trench is open of a to-side movement or any other hazardous movement in the possible collapse of soil from behind or below the bottom event of sudden lateral movement, i.e., trench failure. of the shield. • The shield system shall not be exposed to loads exceeding the design standard. Final Safety Requirement All excavations must be backfilled as soon as possible after • Workers shall be protected from the hazards of cave- removal of the support system. No worker is permitted in an ins when entering or leaving the area protected by the unshored or unprotected excavation or trench no matter how shield. compelling the reason.Excavation Safety QuizName: _______________________________ a. Type A soil b. Type B soilDepartment: __________________________ c. Type C soilDate: ________________________________ d. stable rockEmployee or SSN: ______________________ 6. OSHA requires a ladder or ramp to exit a trench if theCircle the letter indicating the correct answer. depth of excavation is _____.1. A stairway, ladder, ramp or other safe means of egress a. 3 feet shall be located in trench excavations that are 4 ft. (1.22 b. 4 feet or more m) or more in depth so as to require no more than______ c. 6 feet feet of lateral travel for employees. d. 12 feet a. 10 7. The least stable soil type is _____. b. 25 a. Type A c. 50 b. Type B d. none of the above c. Type C2. The thumb penetration test is based on _____. d. stable rock a. OSHA table Z-1 8. One advantage of aluminum hydraulic shoring is that b. NFPA workers do not have to enter an unprotected trench to c. ASTM D2488 install or remove it. d. not listed a. True b. False3. In excavations less than five feet deep, no shoring is required if _____. 9. When excavating under the base of a wall, foundation4. In Type B soil, the sloping ratio is _____. or sidewalk, the support system must be designed by a registered professional engineer. a. 3/4 to 1. b. 1 to 1. a. True b. False c. 1-1/2 to 1. 10. A trench shield (trench box) must be designed by a d. not permitted a. competent person5. Excavations with vertical walls that remain intact b. machinist when exposed are in _____. c. registered professional engineer d. certified welder 7
  8. 8. Test Answers: 1. b 2. c 3. d 4. b 5. d 6. b 7. c 8. a 9. a 10 cResources “Excavations.” Code of Federal Regulations Title 29, Pt. 1926, Subpt. P, September 1, 2000 ed. 8 Hour Competent Person Student Manual, Speed Shore Corporation, 1993 OSHA 2226, Excavations, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 2000 (Reprinted) 8
  9. 9. Excavation Safety Training The following people have attended training on the excavation safety program on: Name Signature Employee #_____________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ________________________________________ _____________________ ___________________ Training conducted by__________________________ Signature ____________________________________ Title ________________________________________ 9
  10. 10. Exhibits 10
  11. 11. Figure 1 Simple Slope Excavation Class Measurement Degrees Class A 3⁄4: 1 53° Class B 1:1 45° Class C 11⁄2:1 34° C B A A B C Figure 2 Simple Bench Excavation Type A Soil20’ Maximum 1 3/4 4’ Max 11
  12. 12. Figure 3 Hydraulic Shoring 12

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