How Heavy Snowfall Can Affect an Excavation Project

November 22, 2018 11:20 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Most people plan to start and complete their excavation projects when the weather is good. If the dig site is frozen, moist or covered in snow, there’s still a chance your project can go on, but not without some concerns and challenges. Here’s what you need to know about performing land excavation in Jeffersonville, IN when the weather is bad.

Common hazards

All types of weather can affect the progress of your excavation project, including snow, rain and ice. The weather can change without much notice, which is why you and your excavation team should prepare for and be aware of certain hazards:

  • Slips and falls: It’s raining or snow is melting, but workers need to move around to get things done—watch out for your footing! Trips, slips and falls can happen on any construction job site, but they are especially scary for excavation teams. There’s a greater chance of tripping and falling into a water-filled hole, or getting stuck in mud. Water, ice and snow can affect excavation sites, so closely inspect the area to see how the weather is impacting it.
  • Electrocution: When water, snow or moisture accumulates on an excavation site, a person’s chance for electrocution increases. Electric shock is a big concern when underground utility wires and cables in the dig site have not been clearly marked. A machine could hit a line, leaving it exposed to the wet weather. If water touches a damaged wire and someone comes into contact with it, you’ll have a serious emergency on your hands.
  • Equipment dangers: Quality-built construction and excavation equipment is made to stand up to the elements. However, the combination of deep digs, heavy machinery and snow or rain could spell disaster for team members. Water may soften the soil, causing the integrity of the area to fail under the weight of excavators.
  • Frozen ground excavation: Digging in freezing conditions can be a challenge. The ground is frozen, meaning the soil, even if it was previously quite soft, can turn as hard as concrete. To avoid a dangerous situation, be sure to use the right excavation equipment to penetrate the hard ground, with narrower and sharper attachments.

Harsh weather and cave-ins

A common hazard at any excavation work site is the threat of cave-ins. A cave-in happens when the walls of an excavation project collapse. They occur suddenly, and can be deadly and are more likely when Mother Nature brings rain or snow. Soil may not seem that heavy, but it really is, particularly in the quantities found in excavation projects. The weight of moistened soil crushes and twists the victim, causing injury or death in a matter of minutes.

If you work on or manage excavation sites, keep in mind that a hole does not need to be big or deep to be threatening. Watch for changes in the weather and protect your excavation to avoid water collecting down inside.

For more information about land excavation in Jeffersonville, IN at any time of the year, call the experts at Estes Excavating Inc.!

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