No two excavation sites are alike. Each job must be treated individually because conditions vary from job to job, and hazards may vary from job to job.
Follow these procedures to help ensure a safe site:
* Conduct a soil test to determine appropriate sloping, benching, and shoring.
* Remove surface encumbrances such as equipment, materials, supplies, trees, brush, boulders and other objects at the surface that could present a hazard to employees working in the excavation.
* Check the location of underground utilities/ installations that may be encountered during excavation before digging. Arrange with the appropriate utility agency for the protection, removal, shutdown, or relocation of underground installations.
* Install barricades and/or warnings to protect employees and the public from the excavation and from vehicular traffic in excavations deeper than four feet with the potential for a hazardous atmosphere or oxygen deficiency check the atmosphere with a gas monitor as often as necessary to ensure the atmosphere remains safe.
* Provide adequate protection. Ensure that workers are protected in excavations where water is accumulating. This protection involves specific shoring, water removal to control the level of accumulating water, use of lifelines and harnesses, and careful monitoring by a competent person.
* Check the stability of adjacent structures or sources of vibration. Do not excavate below the base or footing of a foundation, wall, sidewalk, pavement or other structure unless shoring or bracing is provided to prevent cave-in or the excavation is in stable rock.
* The competent person should check the excavation on a daily basis or as site conditions change.