Excavations 1

Mitch Kneeskern
CSM 2600, Au. 2012
Subpart E- Excavations
Safety while excavating is very important on a co...
Excavations 2

The OSHA hand book states that the employer or his designee must select and construct
the support systems u...
Excavations 3

distance of that slope. Another option that he can choose is to construct a system in accordance
with the s...
Excavations 4

before they allow workers to enter a trench. First and foremost is to test for oxygen deficiencies
inside t...
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Excavation Safety

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Excavation Safety

  1. 1. Excavations 1 Mitch Kneeskern CSM 2600, Au. 2012 Subpart E- Excavations Safety while excavating is very important on a construction jobsite. It is important for many reasons. The most important of which I feel is because it is nearly impossible to save a victim of a cave in. Due to this fact a greater emphasis should be put on excavation safety. In this paper I will be talking about the design of support systems, the protection of employees in excavations, the installation and removal of support systems, access and egress points, and hazardous atmospheres. All of the regulations are very important in ensuring the safety of employees when excavating. First I will be talking about the installation and removal of supports. I became interested in the topic when Mr. Igel and Mr. Cranmer came to talk to use about excavation. They explained to us that if a cave-in does occur it is very hard to rescue the person that is trapped. They made me realize just how extreme a cave-in can be. I feel that the following regulation is an important step in making sure that a collapse does not occur. According to the OSHA code book, support systems need to be installed and removed in a way that protects workers from cave-ins, structural collapses, and being struck by members of the support system [1926.652(e)(1)(i)]. Installing support systems before sending workers into an excavated area can save lives as well as make sure the construction continues without collapses. In the same way that support systems keeps dirt from falling on the workers it also keeps the dirt from falling into the excavated area before it is ready to be replaced.
  2. 2. Excavations 2 The OSHA hand book states that the employer or his designee must select and construct the support systems used on their jobsite [1926.652(c)]. There are a couple of different ways in which they can do this. If the employer decides to use timber shoring he/she must first find the soil classification and then follow the regulations set in appendix c the subpart P. The employer could also choose to have the support system designed by a profession engineer. In this case all the employer would have to do is construct the systems as designed. One final way of constructing a support system would be using the manufacturer’s tabulated data, which means that the system would have to be constructed within the specifications of the manufacturer. Being able to design and construct the appropriate support system in an excavation could mean the difference between keeping all workers safe or losing the life of one or some of the workers. Constructing a support system incorrectly could cause it to fail. If someone were caught in the excavation when the system failed it could mean the death of that person. They could become trapped underneath the ground and it would be very hard to get to them before they ran out of oxygen. This is why it is important for the employer to be sure that they select the right type of system and install it correctly. Along with designing the support system to be used, the employer must also do the designing of the sloping and benching system. According to OSHA regulation [1926.652(b)] the employer or his designee must select and construct the sloping and benching systems. There are a couple of different options in which the employer can choose from. The first option says that the excavation must be sloped at an angle that is not steeper than one-half horizontal to one vertical. This means that the horizontal distance of the slope has to be half of the vertical
  3. 3. Excavations 3 distance of that slope. Another option that he can choose is to construct a system in accordance with the soil classification and the sloping and benching regulations stated in appendix B of subpart P. One final option that the employer could choose to use is to have the system designed by a professional engineer. In this case all the employer would have to do is construct the system as per the designs of the engineer. Constructing a proper sloping and or benching system when excavating helps to ensure the safety of workers working in an excavation. These systems can be an alternative to support systems or they can be used together. Sloping and benching systems are used to prevent cave-ins and protect workers entering the trenches. When workers are working in a trench it is required that they have proper access and egress points [1926.651(c)]. In the OSHA regulations it states that ramps used by employees to enter and exit a trench must be constructed by a competent person. Also, structural ramps that are to be used for access and egress of equipment must be design by a competent person qualified in structural design. This means that not just anyone can construct these ramps they must be built by someone who has been trained to do so. The code book also states that in any trench four feet or more in depth an egress point must be located no more than twenty-five feet away from the workers. This allows for a quick escape if a trench were to begin to collapse. Making sure that the workers have a fast escape is important when trying to keep them safe. They can quickly exit the trench if they feel that something is not right with one of the support systems mentioned above. Testing and controls are needed to prevent employees to exposure of atmospheric contaminants [1926.651(g)(1)]. There are a couple of things that an employer should have tested
  4. 4. Excavations 4 before they allow workers to enter a trench. First and foremost is to test for oxygen deficiencies inside the excavation. This occurs when there is less than 19.5 percent oxygen in the atmosphere. This can cause oxygen deprivation which can be fatal if not caught in time. Also, tests should be performed to find out if there are other contaminants in the air that could be harmful to the employees. In order to prevent workers from being subjected to these contaminants controls should be put in place to keep them at an acceptable level. If controls are put in place tests should be run regularly to ensure that they are working correctly. These tests and controls are vital in the fight to keep a safe and health jobsite. They allow workers to be sure that the area they are working in is safe from contamination. Also they allow the employer to be confident when sending his employees into these trenches, knowing that they have provided a contaminant free work area. In this paper I have explained the safety precautions that should be followed during excavation. This topic has interested me because it shows just how is easy it can be for someone to get hurt when working on or in a trench. Also, after researching these regulations it allows me to understand what needs to be done to provide a safe work place for employees. Finally, I chose this topic because it never occurred to me that working in a trench could be so dangerous, so it gave me a better perspective on hazard on a jobsite.

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