If you are a general contractor, you're likely used to taking on a wide assortment of jobs and you likely have your own safety protocols in place to ensure that you and your employees stay safe. But if you have recently been hired to conduct your first excavation, there are some additional things that you will want to keep in mind. Tearing up the ground beneath your feet is quite a bit different than your average home improvement job. Here are three best practices you should follow to ensure things go smoothly for everyone involved.
Understand the Utility Set Up Before Digging
Whether you are excavating on private or public property, you need to have a complete understanding of what's actually going on underground before you start digging. Don't just take the homeowner's word for it, get your hands on the blueprints for the property or public space before work begins. The exact location of all underground utilities should be clearly marked prior to breaking ground.
Know Your Escape Route
If you will have workers going more than just a couple feet into the ground, you need to have an escape route or exit, often called an egress method in the excavation business, readily available at all times. This could be a ramp that leads down into the ground or you could invest in multiple ladders. Your workers should make note of where the exits are as soon as they get into the ground. At the first sign of a cave in or environmental change, communicate the issue to your employees immediately so they can get to higher ground.
Keep Your Equipment Away From The Edge
If you are using heavy equipment to assist with the digging, don't ever use it or leave it near the edge of the trench. One, you don't want the equipment operator to accidentally drop or drive the vehicle into the trench and two, the heavy weight of this equipment could cause the trench walls to become unstable. Along these same lines, make sure you are transporting excavated soil far away from the trench itself once it is removed.
If you want to add excavation to your resume as a general contractor, it's important to be prepared for the job. Always map out the exact location of all utilities in the area using official documents like government blueprints before work begins. Once the excavation has started, ensure that you and all of your employees have an escape route out of the trench at all times and ensure that no one is leaving equipment or debris anywhere near the edge of the excavation site.
For more information, contact companies like Haas Construction.