You know construction sites can be dangerous, but did you know that excavations are one of the most hazardous construction site operations? Between 2000 and 2006, more than 270 construction workers died in excavation and trenching cave-ins, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. While that number had dropped from previous years, statistics obtained by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revealed excavation site deaths more than doubled in 2016.
What can you do to help prevent excavation site accidents? An employer conducting excavation work must follow OSHA standards about trenching and excavation safety. The guidelines describe safe work practices that can help protect workers from hazards like cave-ins. Because many on-site incidents occur due to inadequate preparation, preplanning is the best way to increase safety. Don’t wait until after the project starts to fix mistakes. This only slows down operations and increases project expenses and the likelihood of accidents.
Once a project has begun, OSHA requires that a designated person inspect the excavation site every day prior to starting work, as well as after a rainstorm or other flood. This person should be able to identify current and potential hazards including unsanitary conditions or anything that could be dangerous to workers, as well as take immediate action to fix anything that is wrong. Part of the inspection should include the locations of all utility lines and pipes.
The standards also include other practices that employers must follow to reduce accidents and injuries. Among these are: keeping excavated soil, materials and heavy equipment at least two feet (0.61 meters) from trench edges; identifying anything that could affect the stability of the trench; testing for atmospheric hazards like low oxygen, fumes and toxic gases; and ensuring that any worker who enters a deep and confined space wears a harness with a lifeline.
In addition to these OSHA requirements, live video monitoring can also increase the overall safety of a construction and excavation site. UCIT has been protecting and securing construction sites for more than a decade. Our trained operators can watch your site for potential hazards in real time. If they see anything unusual they can alert the designated point of contact to take immediate action.
Excavation sites are inherently dangerous to workers and crew members. It’s important to take preventative measures before the start of a project to help lessen the potential for accidents. Contact UCIT to learn more about our live video monitoring surveillance and how it can improve your overall construction site security.