Following some recent incidents in our industry, it is important to remember the following legal requirements regarding excavations and trenches:
- For large excavations, a competent person is appointed to manage and inspect the excavation e.g. Supervisor
- The stability of the ground must be assessed
- Steps must be taken to ensure no employee can get buried or trapped by a fall or dislodged material. This can be in the form of shoring or bracing as designed by a professional.
- The sides of the excavation must be sloped to at least the maximum angle of repose relative to the horizontal
- Appointments, inspections and permits must be done in writing.
- No load, material, plant or equipment must be placed near the edge where it can cause the collapse
- Take the adjoining or neighbouring property stability into consideration
- Ensure safe access and egress into/from excavations and ensure safety measures are taken when working off ramps into bulk excavations e.g. trucks and pedestrians separated on-ramp.
- When excavating, ensure all known services have been identified and measures were taken before excavation.
- Inspections must be done daily and especially after rain
- Make sure all trenches and excavations are barricaded, not only for employee safety but also to ensure that the public cannot enter the site. This is done by proper fencing / solid barricade and not just caution tape.
- Make sure excavations are safe, especially where demolition and blasting are taking place.
- Ensure adequate signage is placed on and near excavations, warning people of the hazards.