Health, Safety, Security and Environment

Tool Box Talk: Excavation

2 min read

Trenches are potential killers. The majority of fatal trench accidents occur where the depth is less than 1.5m. A cubic meter of earth can weigh over 1.5
Tones which will crush a man.

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Main Points:

  1. Prior to any digging carry out thorough checks for services.
  2. Plan excavations including shoring requirements, safe access/egress, etc.
  3. Ensure any support/shoring materials are present on site prior to

Discussion Points:

  1. Excavations must be supported/battered back where necessary to prevent collapse.
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  1. Use ladders for access/egress do not climb supports.
  2. All excavations deeper than 1.2 mtrs. (4 meter) must be shored or the sides must be sloped to a safe angledownload
  3. Provide barrier around deep excavations.
  4. Keep soil heaps, tools and vehicles back 0.5m away from the edge of excavations.
  5. Never throw tools/materials into an excavation always pass hand to hand orlower on a rope.
  6. Wear suitable PPE, including head and foot protection.
  7. Do not jump across excavations provide suitable bridges where required.
  8. If vehicles are to be used to fill then position stops to ensure vehicles cannotdrive into excavations.
  9. Never adjust/adapt supports/shoring without first getting approval fromperson in charge.
  10. Excavations must be inspected prior to entry, at the start of each shift, and after any destabilizing event (including heavy rain).
  11. Ensure stop blocks are fitted when dumpers are tipping into excavations and that are guided by a signaler.
  12. Do not jump across excavations, use bridge access ways with guard rail.
  13. Do not alter or remove any supporting members unless you are timber man.


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