No matter what type of excavation site you are dealing with – from simple backyard digging to large industrial operations – it is vital that all excavations receive inspections regularly for safety. Unsafe conditions can lead to unnecessary injury and even death, so these inspections are essential for keeping everyone safe. But when should excavations be inspected? Let’s look at some of the most common situations below.
Building a Foundation for a Structure
Excavations must be inspected when creating a foundation for a structure for safety reasons. An excavation can harm workers and other onsite personnel, so the area must check for loose soil and underground issues beforehand.
Additionally, the machinery used in an excavation project can add risks that must be considered before beginning work. A proper inspection will lead to better action plans and less hassle.
After Heavy Rains or Flooding
When an excavation is not well maintained, it can be hazardous to anyone who works in or near it. Flooding can cause soil to shift, backfill to collapse, and other problems that can put workers at risk, so this is a critical time for an inspection.
Not only that, but property owners could face costly repairs from improperly maintained excavations. Therefore, owners should inspect their excavations after severe weather conditions such as flooding to help ensure a safe work environment and protect against expensive repair costs.
When Equipment or Materials Are being Moved Through the Excavation
Extra caution must be taken when materials and equipment are being moved through an excavation site to be used in the project. You never know what could shift during the moving process.
These inspections often involve checking the structural integrity of holes and trenches impacted by the installation or other activities. They should include assessing soil type and depth, size, and angle/slope measurements of these excavated areas.
When There Is a Significant Change in the Surrounding Environment, Like After an Earthquake
As seismic activity increases, soil conditions often alter and can become unstable. These changes can cause tremendous damage to excavation sites and increase the risk of structural collapse.
Inspections after an earthquake allow professionals to identify potential vulnerabilities and verify that adequate supports remain intact and functioning properly.
Before Resuming Operations After a Break or Starting a New Task
Regular inspections should be made of the excavation site to ensure safe working conditions both before beginning a new task and after any interruption. Again, things can change at any time, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
This inspection should include reviewing walls and cutouts for stability and signs of sloughing, ensuring safe access around the excavation area, and ensuring provided safety equipment is in proper condition and readily available, confirming barricades are still in place.
So, when should excavations be inspected? Well, an appropriate excavation inspection should be contingent upon several factors, like those in the situations described above.
If you’re ever unsure, though, it’s always good to err on the side of caution – there’s no such thing as too many inspections, especially in a potentially dangerous situation. That’s why regular inspections are so important in excavation, as it helps to ensure that nothing is missed, and that the worksite is safe for everyone.
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