Santucci Construction Corp. works closely with landscape architects to level backyards, clear messy landscapes, and mould them into works of art. These tasks require excavation, as do projects like utility trenching and the construction of in-ground pools or ponds. Excavation presents significant hazards, as one cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car and the caving-in of an excavation, or trench, can crush workers. In addition, employees are exposed to falling loads, hazardous vapors, and dangerous construction equipment. That’s why responsible excavation contractors in Hawthorne, NY, practice these vital safety precautions:
It is important to approach every new excavation with caution and thorough preparation, regardless of how many projects a contractor has completed in the past. Therefore, your contractor will find out as much as possible about your landscape before even thinking about starting the project. Factors that they will explore include the type of soil present, the location of the water table, the proximity of all nearby structures, and the location of underground utilities. Once utility lines have been located, they are protected, supported, or removed as necessary and the relevant utility companies are notified of the excavation.
Regular safety inspections
At the beginning of every working shift, the excavation is inspected for hazards. This is particularly essential after a rainstorm, as bad weather can weaken the sides of the hole or trench and cause a cave-in. The inspector will also look out for live electrical wires, hazardous chemicals, gas pipes, and low oxygen levels.
When excavating, heavy equipment and vehicles should be kept at a distance, as their weight could cause the walls of the hole to collapse. Material removed from the hole should be deposited more than two feet from its edge. This will prevent dirt from sliding back into the hole and colliding with workers. If the job site does not allow for two feet of distance, then soil will have to be moved to another location until the excavation is complete.
Trenches more than four feet deep generally have a secure entrance and exit, in the form of steps or ladders. Large excavations also require steps and ladders to be set up within twenty five feet of any worker.
Selecting a protective system
According to accepted regulations, any trench deeper than five feet should contain a protective system, unless its walls are composed of solid rock. Protective systems prevent cave-ins and can be in the form of walls that slope away from the center of the trench. Contractors can also brace the walls using metal or wooden supports and construct protective boxes around the workers.
Covering all the bases
As mentioned earlier, cave-ins aren’t the only danger associated with excavations. A warning system is ideally put in place to alert workers when mobile equipment is being operated close to the excavation. This is crucial when the operator does not have a clear and direct view of the edge of the excavation. This warning system can be in the form of barricades, stop logs, or mechanical signals. Contractors should also ensure that no employee works beneath a load that is being suspended by machinery.