Company Name __________________________ Job Name __________________________ Date________
This May in Seattle, a man was buried to his waist when the eight foot deep trench he was working in collapsed around him. It took 50 firefighters and medics to dig him out. He was lucky.
Last November in San Diego County, the walls of a trench collapsed around two workers. Both of them were killed. Last September in Irvine, a 4-6 foot deep trench failed around two workers. One worker died and the second was treated for a broken hip. These people were not lucky.
Excavations and trenches need not be deep or large to create a life threatening hazard. Soil is heavy, and failures take place with little or no notice. You can be trapped before there is time to react. So it is important that every excavation be prepared correctly, allowing you to complete your job safely and efficiently. Remember that every trench is different. Soil type, moisture content, depth, configuration, proximity to existing structures, and location of spoil piles all work together to make every excavation unique. Keep these points in mind when working:
You are the one that is going into the hole. So check the methods being used to protect the excavation, including the shoring equipment's condition and the ladder out of the hole. Prior to climbing down the ladder, check the spoil pile location and equipment that is near the excavation. Do you feel comfortable with the excavation, its protection, and the nearby surroundings?
Don't take chances, if you see something that needs attention, speak to your supervisor BEFORE going down in the hole to start your job. Excavations are serious business. Let's keep them a safe place to work.
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