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Safety rules for trenching and excavation

The trenching and excavation guidelines established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were established to prevent worker injuries in Oklahoma and the rest of the country from two of the most hazardous construction operations. The guidelines aim to prevent the occurrence of cave-ins, which has been identified as the primary risk associated with trenching and excavation and most likely to result in a worker fatality. The regulations are also intended to prevent incidents involving mobile equipment, falls, falling loads and dangerous atmospheres.

Different types of protective systems are used to provide safety. Workers can be protected with shielding by using trench supports, such as boxes, to stop soil cave-ins. Sloping, or carving the trench wall at an angle that is slanted away from the excavation, can be implemented. Shoring can be applied through the installation of aluminum hydraulic supports to stop soil movement.

The daily inspection of the trench site has to be performed by a competent person, according to OSHA standards. This is an individual who is qualified to recognize current and potential dangerous working conditions and who is authorized to implement corrective measures to remove or regulate these risks and conditions.

Additional general trenching and excavation rules include not working beneath raised loads and keeping weighty equipment from the edges of the trench. Trenches should also be inspected at the beginning of every shift and after every rainstorm. The location of underground utilities should always be known, and tests should be conducted for deadly gases, dangerous fumes and oxygen content.

Employees who sustain workplace injuries may file for workers' compensation. An attorney may assist a client throughout the claims process to ensure that the proper compensation is obtained for rehabilitation and medical expenses.

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