The success or failure of an excavation task is not only judged by how efficiently the job has been done, but also by the safety of your workers at the end of the task. What is the point of completing a job in record time if you lose some of your workers in the process? Surely that can't be called a success, even if the job has been done perfectly. As a construction company owner or site supervisor, it is your duty to look after the well-being of your workers. In fact, you are not only doing your workers a favor, but you are also saving your company, as endangering the lives of employees in construction sites usually results to poor public relations. On top of that, you may have to deal with lawsuits and hefty fines. So how exactly can you protect your employees from excavation hazards?
Always Test The Air
Air is an ingredient that employees can't do without when they are busy creating cavities in the ground. As such, it is important to make sure that most of the air that they are breathing in is oxygen. Before the start of the project, have the air tested. The air around the site should contain 19.5% to 23.5% oxygen. And since you don't want your workers to get roasted, don't start working on the site if flammable gases in the area occupy 20% of the air. The air should also be inspected for toxic gases like sewer gases, chlorine and carbon monoxide. If these gases are present, you may have to put safety measures in place such as investing in air blowers and having a rescue team on standby before you commission the work to begin.
Push The Spoil Pile Farther Away
If you are on site with your workers, the last thing you want to see is the refuse created by the excavation process piling up around the edges of the trench. This is a dangerous situation, and you should have the refuse pushed farther away, preferably at least 2 feet away from the edges of the trench. Soil and refuse around the edge of the trench may exert pressure on the walls, which may tempt the wall to collapse. And if the wall fails to hold while there are people inside the cavity, you have a new problem to deal with.
Ensure The Workers Have An Exit Point
Cave-ins are a real scare, and once they occur, you want a safe exit point in place that ensures every worker will come out alive. Ladders are one piece of the equipment you can invest in to ensure a safe passage for your workers when things go south. Steps and ramps are can also be used to provide an exit point.
Of course most of your workers might be capable of taking care of themselves but humans are prone to error, and once in a while, they may forget a thing or two. That is why it is always important to check on them and ensure that they are adhering to the rules.