What You Need to Know About How Construction Sites Are Protected from Cave-Ins

April 20, 2021 8:12 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Whether you’re building a new home or business in Jeffersonville, IN, you need to hire the right excavation company to lay a solid foundation for your structure. Sitework is one of the most important steps in the construction process, and it’s also one of the most dangerous. During the excavation process, proper care must be taken to reduce the risk of cave-ins, which can not only set back construction progress, but can also be dangerous to anyone working at the site. Here’s everything you need to know about how your construction site will be protected from cave-ins.

What dangers do trenches pose at a construction site?

Trenches pose a danger to construction workers on your property, since they have the potential to cave in and trap them. There’s also a risk that the workers could fall into the trench and get injured, or that construction equipment and heavy machinery could fall into the trench. By conforming to OSHA guidelines and using protective systems at the site, a professional excavation company can significantly reduce the risk of accidents during construction.

What protective systems should be used in trenches?

OSHA requires the use of protective systems in trenches that are deeper than five feet. Even in trenches that are less than five feet deep, a protective system is still required if an excavation technician detects a potential for a cave-in. Here are the common systems that will protect your construction site in Jeffersonville, IN from cave-ins:

  • Sloping and benching: This involves cutting back the trench wall at an angle inclined away from the work area. Your excavation professional will complete a thorough examination of soil conditions at your site to determine the ideal angle of slope.
  • Shoring: This system supports the sides or walls of the trench. The excavation team installs aluminum, steel or wood panels that are supported by screws and hydraulic jacks—in some cases, systems can be installed without the need for workers to enter the trench. This is often one of the safest options for workers at your site.
  • Trench boxes: This protective system is commonly used in open areas that are away from foundations or utilities. The boxes don’t shore up trench walls, but they can be used to protect workers if a cave-in should occur. When properly installed with compacted backfill soil, they can safely support the trench walls.

What type of company should oversee the work at my site?

OSHA requires a “competent person” to be on site whenever construction workers are on a site during excavation. A competent person is a skilled excavation professional who can identify existing or predictable hazards on the excavation site and knows how to take corrective steps to eliminate them. When selecting an excavation company for your construction project, always make sure they comply with all OSHA guidelines. They need specific training in OSHA standard 29 CFR 1926, Subpart P, which covers soil analysis and implementing protective safety systems.

Hiring experienced and reliable sitework professionals is your best way to ensure that your construction site in Jeffersonville, IN will be protected from cave-ins. Contact Estes Excavating Inc. to learn more about how safe excavation work is a crucial first step in the construction process.

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