Page 17 - Alabama 811 Magazine 2020 Issue 3
P. 17

directional drillers, any worker who has to dig into the dirt in the performance of their duties.
So why is dirt so deadly? I have said “crushed,” in reference to workers dying in trench collapses, because that is exactly what happens. One cubic yard of dry, type C soil, the weakest soil, weighs approximately 2700 pounds, the approximate weight
of a small car. If you add water, different types of soil, rocks, or anything else to that cubic yard of soil, the weight simply increases. It is best stated that people who die in trench collapses are crushed to death.
Staying alive in trenches is so easy, yet one of the most overlooked aspects of the construction industry. Here are some tips and reminders to stay safe while working in trenches:
1. A Competent Person shall
be assigned to each excavation and must inspect the excavation at the beginning of the shift before employees enter, when there has been a change to the trench i.e. weather, or there has been a collapse of the trench wall.
2. If a trench is four feet deep, it has to have access and egress within every 25 feet of employees working in that trench. Additionally, the egress shall be so that the person exiting that trench can do so with great ease.
3. If a trench is deeper than five feet, a protective system is required. A protective system being that of sloping, shoring, shielding or benching. If a trench is less than
five feet deep, the Competent Person can deem it unsafe and require a Protective System.
4. Atmospheric testing shall be done before entering a trench.
5. Train your employees to the Excavation Standard, regardless of if they
occurred...and they’re right.
are a short service employee (SSE) or a 30 year vet!
Trench fatalities are easy to avoid, and the collapse of a trench is never an accident, it’s always avoidable. It’s hard to defend an employer when a trench fatality has occurred because in OSHA’s eyes,
a highly predictable and preventable event has
So, the next time you think about working in an unsafe trench, think again, because eventually there’s going to be a bullet in that gun!
Stay safe friends and God Bless!
Have questions, comments or need Excavation or
Competent Person Training? Call (620) 655-6254, or
email or visit www. and remember, “Lead Safely... Others Will Follow!!!” Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
2020, Issue 3 Alabama 811 • 15

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