An excavation cave-in poses the greatest risk to construction workers on the job site. The resulting trench following excavation may be as wide as 15 feet and quite deep. There are a few things contractors should keep in mind to protect workers.
The insurance firm SB One Insurance states excavation is an extremely hazardous task in the construction industry. Cave-ins post the greatest fatality risk of all accidents related to excavations. When one cubic yard of soil lands on a worker, it’s as if a small two-ton pickup truck dropped on them. Few workers survive and those that do are seriously injured.
One of the easiest ways to help prevent the trench from collapsing is by keeping the surface free of clutter. The added objects can place additional pressure on the walls leading to a cave in. Keep both objects and personnel away from the edge at least two feet.
After any weather event, be sure to thoroughly inspect the trench for safety. Reinforce any walls that need it especially after heavy rains. Excavate rainwater accumulation that can damage the structural integrity of the trench.
Making sure to follow a few simple safety steps can keep workers both in and around the trench safe. An excavation cave-in is a tragic event on a construction site but is often something that can be prevented.