Trenching & Excavation
Excavation and trenching are among the most hazardous construction operations. OSHA defines a competent person is someone who is capable of identifying existing hazards and can foresee preventable hazards. A competent person is an individual, designated by the employer, who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to workers, and who is authorized to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.
Our competent person training will help your employees become knowledgeable about the applicable standards and help them be able to identify workplace hazards.This training also contains the requirements for excavation and trenching operations.
Under the Excavation standards, task performed by the competent person include:
- Classifying soil
- Inspecting protective systems
- Designing structural ramps
- Monitoring water removal equipment; and
- Conducting site inspections
- The Requirements of the standard
- Must be capable of identifying hazards, and to immediately eliminate hazards.
Competent persons shall conduct daily inspections of the excavation itself, adjacent areas, and the protective systems in place. Any indication of possible failure of these systems, a cave-in, or exposure to a hazardous atmosphere/condition must be identified. The inspection shall be conducted before the start of work and as needed throughout the shift when conditions change including inclement weather or other newly present hazards. Inspections shall be done when employee exposure is reasonably anticipated.
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- United States of America
The following concerns must be addressed by a competent person:
- Evaluate soil conditions and select appropriate protective systems.
- Construct protective systems in accordance with the standard requirements.
- Preplan for work:contact utility companies (gas, electric) to locate underground lines, plan for traffic control, and determine proximity to structures that could affect the choice of the protective system.
- Test for low oxygen, hazardous fumes, and toxic gases. This is especially important when gasoline engine-driven equipment is running, or the dirt has been contaminated by leaking lines or storage tanks. Ensure adequate ventilation is present or respiratory protection is in use if necessary.
- Provide safe egress accessinto and out of the excavation.
- Provide appropriate protectionif water accumulation is a problem.
- Inspect the site dailyat the start of each shift, following a rainstorm, or after any other hazard-increasing event.
- Keep excavations openthe minimum amount of time needed to complete operations.
- Surface crossing of trenchesshould not be made unless absolutely necessary.
- However, they are permitted under the following conditions:
- Vehicle crossingsmust be designed by and installed under the supervision of a registered professional engineer.
- Walkways or bridgesmust:
- have a minimum clear width of 20 inches,
- be fitted with standard rails, and
- extend a minimum of 24 inches past the surface edge of the trench
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Lancaster Safety Consulting, Inc.
Lancaster Safety is an OSHA VPP Star Site and nationwide OSHA-compliance consulting firm that helps clients train employees, comply with OSHA rules, and inspire their organization to take safety beyond the standard. Our passionate, experienced, and professional team can help...