Excavation and Trenching CBT Script

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1 Excavation and Trenching CBT Script Welcome / Splash Screen Welcome to the Florida Department of Transportation s computer-based training series on OSHA Construction Awareness Training. This is Chapter 9, Excavation and Trenching. To begin, select the start button or press Shift+N on your keyboard. Welcome A Help button is located at the top of each page in this course. Selecting this button will bring up a PDF file with information on how to navigate and use this course. You may select the Help button now if you would like to review this useful information before you begin the course. Introduction OSHA s standards concerning trenching and excavation apply to all open excavations made in the earth s surface. The fatality rate from cave-ins and other excavation-related accidents is more than twice as high as the rate for general construction work, but the OSHA standards provide a guide to greatly reducing the risks associated with digging operations. You should be aware of these guidelines whenever you are inspecting around an area where excavation or trenching is occurring Preplanning Site Conditions No matter how experienced the crew or how simple the situation, you should always approach each new job with the utmost care and preparation. Many on-the- job accidents result directly from inadequate initial planning. Waiting until after the work has started to correct mistakes in shoring or sloping can slow down the operation, costing time and money, and increasing the likelihood of a dangerous excavation failure. Site Conditions Any safe jobsite should take into account information about the jobsite and the materials needed to inspect or perform the work safely. Look for the following conditions at the site, and consider how the excavation safety procedures take them into consideration: Traffic Overhead and underground utilities Soil Surface and ground water Location of the water table Weather Proximity and physical conditions of nearby structures Jobsite studies, observations, testing for soil type or conditions, and consulting with local officials and utility companies are all appropriate steps to take when a project manager is trying to determine the amount, kind, and cost of safety equipment needed 1

2 to perform the work in the safest manner possible. When managing or inspecting a project, make sure these steps have been taken. Ingress & Egress What means of access and egress are you required to provide? OSHA requires you to provide safe access and egress to all excavations, including ladders, steps, ramps, or other safe means of exit for employees working in trench excavations 4 feet or deeper. These devices must be located in the excavation within 25 feet of all workers. Any structural ramps you use in your operation must be designed by a competent person if they are used for employee access or egress. Structural components used for ramps or runways must be uniform in thickness and joined in a manner to prevent tripping or displacement. Excavating Near Utility Installations While, as an inspector, it is not your job, you should be aware that before work begins the OSHA standard requires the following steps: Determine the approximate location of utility installations - sewer, telephone, fuel, electric, and water lines - or any other underground installations. If the excavation work exposes underground installations, OSHA regulations require the installations to be protected, properly supported, or removed. Contact the utility companies or owners involved to inform them of the proposed work within established or customary local response times. Ask the utility companies or owners to find the exact location of underground installations. If they don't respond within two full business days you may proceed with caution. Consult your local one-call system for exact wording/rule. If the excavation work exposes underground installations, OSHA regulations require the installations to be protected, properly supported, or removed. Worker Information Employees play a critical role in keeping the jobsite safe, and should be informed about the details of the jobsite safety and health program - including the details of excavation safety. Every jobsite should have specific rules to help reduce the risk of on-the-job injuries, including any of the following: Remove or minimize all surface obstacles at the worksite that may create a hazard. Wear warning vests or other reflective or high-visibility garments when exposed to nearby vehicular traffic. Wear or use prescribed personal protective equipment correctly. 2

3 No one should operate equipment unless they have been trained properly in its use, and understand its potential hazards. Always follow common-sense safe work practices. Cave-In Prevention Preventing Cave-Ins OSHA requires that all excavations in which employees could potentially be exposed to cave-ins be protected by Sloping or benching the sides of the excavation Supporting the sides of the excavation Placing a shield between the side of the excavation and the work area Designing a protective system can be complex because many factors affect the safety of a given excavation, including the type of soil, the depth of cut, the water content of soil, changes due to weather and climate, or other operations in the vicinity. The project planner is free to choose the most practical design approach for any particular site and circumstance, but must meet the performance criteria outlined next for the method he or she chooses. Preventing Cave-Ins It is important for the project manager, safety inspector, or any other party interested in the safety of the jobsite to understand the various design approaches. OSHA s standards describe three approaches to designing a safe excavation or trench, and anyone concerned about site safety should be aware of the following three safe designs. Method 1 Slope the sides to an angle not steeper than 3 to 2; for example, for every one foot of depth, the trench must be excavated back one and a half feet. All simple slope excavations 20 feet or less deep should have a maximum allowable slope of 3:2. This kind of excavation is safe for any type of soil. Preventing Cave-Ins Method 2 Use tabulated data, such as tables and charts approved by a registered professional engineer, to design the excavation. These data must be in writing, and need to include enough explanatory information, including the criteria for making a selection and the limits on the use of the data, for the user to make a selection. At least one copy of the data, including the identity of the registered professional engineer who approved it, must be kept at the worksite during construction of the protective system. After the system is completed, the data may be stored away from the jobsite, but a copy must be available upon request to the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA. 3

4 Preventing Cave-Ins Method 3 Use a trench box or shield designed or approved by a registered professional engineer, or based on tabulated data prepared or approved by a registered professional engineer. Timber or aluminum are the most common materials used to construct a shield, but other suitable materials may also be used. OSHA standards permit the use of a trench shield (also known as a welder s hut) if it provides at least as much protection to workers as the appropriate shoring system. Other Precautions The standard requires support systems such as shoring, bracing, or underpinning to ensure that adjacent structures such as buildings, walls, sidewalks, or pavements remain stable. The standard also prohibits excavation below the base or footing of any foundation or retaining wall unless one of the following conditions applies: A support system, like underpinning, is provided. The excavation is in stable rock. A registered professional engineer determines that the structure is far enough away from the excavation and that excavation will not pose a hazard to employees. Excavations under sidewalks and pavements are prohibited unless there is a support system or another effective means of support, designed by a competent qualified person. Additional Hazards and Protections Installation and Removal Employees that install excavation support systems should always take the following steps to ensure their own safety, and the safety of other workers who enter the excavation which includes you as an Inspector. If you ever observe that one or more of these steps has not been taken, immediately clear the excavation and make sure the support system is repaired before any nonessential personnel enter the protected area. Installation and Removal Connect members of support systems securely. Install support systems safely. Avoid overloading members of support systems. Install other structural members to carry the additional loads imposed on the support system when individual members are temporarily removed. 4

5 Installation and Removal In addition, excavation of 2 feet or less below the bottom of the members of a support or shield system is relatively safe, as long as the system is designed to resist the forces calculated for the full depth of the trench. There must be no indications while the trench is open of a possible cave-in below the bottom of the support system. Also, the installation of support systems should be managed in close concert with the excavation work. As soon as work is completed, the excavation should be backfilled as soon as possible after the protective system is dismantled. After the excavation is cleared, the protective system should be removed from the bottom up, taking care to release members slowly. Maintenance of Protective Systems Defective or damaged materials and equipment can cause failure of a protective system, causing a safety hazard for anyone working in the excavation at the time. The following steps can minimize the possibility of a protective system failing while in place Manufactured materials and equipment should always be used and maintained in a manner consistent with the manufacturer s recommendations. A competent person must examine any damaged materials or equipment. Always remove unsafe materials and equipment from service until a registered professional engineer can evaluate and approve them for use. Materials and equipment should be free from damage or defects. Other Excavation Hazards In addition to cave-ins and related hazards, workers around excavation work also are exposed to hazards involving falls, falling loads, and mobile equipment. To protect employees from these hazards, the OSHA standard requires employers to follow several precautions: Keep materials or equipment that might fall or roll into an excavation at least 2 feet from the edge of excavations, or use retaining devices, or both. Provide warning systems such as barricades, signals, or stop logs to alert equipment operators that the edge of an excavation is close. Provide scaling to remove loose rock or soil, or install protective barricades to protect employees from falling rock, soil, or work materials. 5

6 Prohibit employees from working above others on the face of a sloped or benched excavation, unless the workers at the lower levels have overhead protection from falling objects. Prohibit employees from working under loads being handled by lifting or digging equipment. Workers should stay away from vehicles operating near an excavation, to remove the risk of being struck by falling materials. Water Accumulation Among the additional hazards stemming from water in an excavation are undermining the sides and making it more difficult to get out of the excavation. The OSHA standard prohibits employees from working without adequate protection in excavations where water has accumulated or is accumulating. If the job specifications call for water removal equipment to control or prevent water accumulation, a competent person has to monitor the equipment and its operation to ensure proper use. OSHA standards also require the use of diversion ditches, dikes, or other suitable means to prevent surface water from entering an excavation and to provide adequate drainage of the adjacent area. A competent person must regularly inspect excavations subject to runoffs from heavy rains. Hazardous Atmospheres A competent person must test any excavation deeper than 4' any time an oxygen deficiency or a hazardous atmosphere is present or could reasonably be expected (such as a landfill or a place where hazardous substances are stored nearby), before an employee enters it. If there are any hazardous conditions, controls like respiratory protection or ventilation should be used to eliminate the safety risk. Any controls used to reduce atmospheric contaminants to acceptable levels need to be inspected and tested regularly to make sure they really do reduce the risk to workers. Entering and Exiting Excavations Any structural ramps used in an operation must be designed by a competent person if they are used for employee access or egress, or by a competent person qualified in structural design if they are used for vehicles. Structural members used for ramps or runways should be uniform in thickness, and need to be joined in a manner that prevents tripping or displacement. Pier Holes and Confined Footing Excavations An employee who enters a bell-bottom pier hole or similar deep and confined footing excavation must wear a harness with a lifeline. The lifeline must be attached securely to the harness and must be separate from any line used to handle materials. 6

7 Also, while the employee wearing the lifeline is in the excavation, an observer must be on hand to ensure that the lifeline is working properly and maintain communication with the employee. Inspection A competent person should inspect the excavation and surrounding area around it daily for indications of a possible cave-in, any failure of protective systems or equipment, hazardous atmospheres, or other hazardous conditions. Inspections also are required after natural events, like heavy rains, or manmade events such as blasting that may increase the potential for hazards. If the inspector finds any unsafe conditions, employees should not work in the hazardous area until the appropriate safety precautions have been taken. Larger and more complex operations should have a full-time safety official who makes recommendations to improve implementation of the safety plan. In a smaller operation, the safety official may be part-time and usually will be a supervisor. Supervisors are the contractor s representatives on the job. Supervisors should conduct inspections, investigate accidents, and anticipate hazards. They should ensure that employees receive on-the-job safety and health training. They also should review and strengthen overall safety and health precautions to guard against potential hazards, get the necessary worker cooperation in safety matters, and make frequent reports to the contractor. Conclusion Excavations and trenching are par for the course on any roadway construction site, so it makes sense to know the safety basics for operating around what are, for all intents and purposes, big holes in the ground. With the working knowledge you ve gained from this course, you should be able to negotiate your way more safely around your construction site from top to bottom. Exam You are about to begin a 10 question exam on the material that was presented in this module. You must pass this exam with a score of 70% to receive credit for this course. You may take this exam as many times as necessary. Feel free to review the material if you feel you are not ready to proceed. You must agree to the following affidavit before you can begin to the exam. AFFIDAVIT 7

8 By entering my name in the field below, I hereby declare, warrant and confirm, under penalty of perjury, that I have not misrepresented my identity, and I intend to personally take and complete the following exam. Please enter your name: Press the "next" button to begin after you have signed the affidavit. 8

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