OSHA is implementing education programs, enforcement processes, and compliance resources to help reverse the recent trend of fatal trench cave-ins across the construction industry and the built environment. OSHA 2226-10R 2015 Trenching and Excavation Safety recommends that contractors consider interrelated safety factors such as soil classification, surface and groundwater, water table, and weather. Here are 10 precautions to protect workers from weather-related trenching and excavation hazards such as heavy rains and water runoffs:

  1. Do not allow workers to enter an excavation with water.
  2. Or, take adequate precautions to protect workers.
  3. Use special support or shield systems to prevent cave-ins.
  4. Employ water removal equipment to control water.
  5. Monitor equipment by a competent person to ensure proper use.
  6. Wear safety harnesses and lifelines.
  7. Require the use of diversion ditches, dikes, or other means.
  8. Prevent surface water from entering the excavation.
  9. Provide adequate drainage of the adjacent area.
  10. Inspect excavations subject to runoffs from heavy rains.

WeatherBuild offers weather risk analytics, predictive event-impact scenarios, and prescriptive resource recommendations for weather-related trenching and excavation hazards.

(Source and image: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, editor. OSHA 2226-10R 2015: Trenching and Excavation Safety. U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 2015.)

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