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General Contractor
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There been a few posts floating around in the past month or so, about digging trenches, and digging to close or under existing foundations,etc...
Just a short note as a reminder, to hire Professional excavation contractors and other trades who have experience with this work and know how how to handle jobs under certain conditions so this things don't happen.

Just read an article in JLC, that a Trench collapsed last week, claiming another victim... a 49-year-old family man from Missouri. The accident happened at a new home construction site.

Here is a full article

Always keep in mind that if you not sure or not familiar with a certain trade, hire professional contractors who specialize in that particular trade, instead of trying to save money and attempt doing something on your own because you got advise or read on the internet how to do it... then end up facing the consequences... and become part of story like that.

My heart goes out to his family...
 

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Project Superintendent
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There been a few posts floating around in the past month or so, about digging trenches, and digging to close or under existing foundations,etc...
Just a short note as a reminder, to hire Professional excavation contractors and other trades who have experience with this work and know how how to handle jobs under certain conditions so this things don't happen.

Just read an article in JLC, that a Trench collapsed last week, claiming another victim... a 49-year-old family man from Missouri. The accident happened at a new home construction site.

Here is a full article

Always keep in mind that if you not sure or not familiar with a certain trade, hire professional contractors who specialize in that particular trade, instead of trying to save money and attempt doing something on your own because you got advise or read on the internet how to do it... then end up facing the consequences... and become part of story like that.

My heart goes out to his family...
But these guys were working for a contractor who knew better according to the links in your post. I can't believe that we are still burying people in ditches, it is totally preventable. But It seems like just about every job I do I have to force the underground utilities contractor to take basic precautions to not bury somebody alive. I think in cases like this there should be criminal charges, not just OSHA fines.

Maybe it's cause I'm claustrophobic. I'd rather be on top of a tower crane than down in a ditch over my head.
:sad:
 

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General Contractor
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Maybe it's cause I'm claustrophobic. I'd rather be on top of a tower crane than down in a ditch over my head.
:sad:
You not, you're right... I see the same thing on some jobs and the way some people work, its a disaster waiting to happen.

I think the main reason why this senseless accidents happen, is because the older people get the more cocky they become and people who jump into this trenches base theirs safety on the operators who dig trenches.

When I was doing developments I owned an excavator and a loader to have on the job and I did some excavating more or less. After I sold the equipment, I been renting equipment for the last 15 years or so and doing my own excavation when I have smaller projects... When I dig a foundation or when I run water and sewer laterals for new homes, I always make sure to use bench excavation so the guys can work safely. Some trenches look like a grave and guys jump right in without thinking... then everyone wonders how did this happen.
 

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Project Superintendent
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OSHA trenching regs simplified:

You gotta have somebody present who knows what the hell they are doing (competent person)

If you are over 5' deep you gotta bench it back 2' for every 5' of depth (I use 4' cause of my claustrophobia)

If you don't have space to do this, you gotta use a trench box

Don't pile your spoils on the edge of the trench

You gotta have a ladder in there so guys can get out (not ride in/out in a trackhoe bucket)

If there is water in there, you gotta pump it

When you get done in the evening, you gotta put up some barricades


That's pretty much it. If you do these things you won't kill or be killed by a trench collapse.
 

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I think the main reason why this senseless accidents happen, is because the older people get the more cocky they become
Could be. Or it could be that the older an american becomes, the less likely they are to be hired in construction, unless in the fine/finish world. 'if he doesn't jump into the ditch/climb a truss/etc. then...."
The less options there are, the more people work.

Looks like just another cookie cutter barf subdivision and outside of a large city, probably lot's of pressure for the american to knock it out and not complain, as, well, there are probably illegals 6 deep waiting for the shot at his job for 1/3 the pay....and no bennies......
 

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Project Superintendent
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Could be. Or it could be that the older an american becomes, the less likely they are to be hired in construction, unless in the fine/finish world. 'if he doesn't jump into the ditch/climb a truss/etc. then...."
The less options there are, the more people work.

Looks like just another cookie cutter barf subdivision and outside of a large city, probably lot's of pressure for the american to knock it out and not complain, as, well, there are probably illegals 6 deep waiting for the shot at his job for 1/3 the pay....and no bennies......
I am not sure I am following here, are you saying that it's o.k. to bury old americans and illegal immigrants?
 

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I am not sure I am following here, are you saying that it's o.k. to bury old americans and illegal immigrants?
Great pick up on that, but that's not exactly what I was talking about. But your interpretation of my babbling really is the logical extension..... ;)

If something is unsafe and shouldn't be done, it shouldn't be done.
However, if you're "the old guy" on a jobsite, you will do it (if you're a worker) because if you don't, you are well aware that there are a whole lot of kids/illegals waiting to take any momentary pause you may take. Being close to a major urban area (kansas city)....just a guess...there are those 11 million illegals from 1991 all there, so there's pressure to do it or be replaced.

Safety get's tossed when one's livelihood is on the line.
 

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Sorry to hear of this. Thanks for the post Greg.

I participated in "Competent Man" training when it was first offered back in the mid 1980's, (when it was OK to be a man, now you have to be a person), I review the regulations periodically, to remind myself and also have an upper hand when discussing particulars with GC's....

Residential sewer house connections are probably the most dangerous excavations out there. You typically run from class b soil into class c soil, but have no idea how much of what you are digging into has been previously excavated and that is the material that will fall in without notice.

greg24k said:
I think the main reason why this senseless accidents happen, is because the older people get the more cocky they become and people who jump into this trenches base theirs safety on the operators who dig trenches.
I have gotten "Cocky" with age, but in a different way, I am not one bit afraid to shut down and find a method to make a site safe.
Recently we did a sewer replacement that had no room to pile the spoils on site, I shut it down, got a truck to back up to the excavator so the soil was loaded right on the truck, the customer paid to have it hauled away, and have filled hauled back.

There is no reason not to be safe, if it is not completed today...tomorrow will be there for the crew as long as they are alive.

I look at every trench, and I mean every trench as one that can fall in. Always have a spotter that knows what signs to look for prior to a trench collapse.
 

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OSHA trenching regs simplified:

You gotta have somebody present who knows what the hell they are doing (competent person)

If you are over 5' deep you gotta bench it back 2' for every 5' of depth (I use 4' cause of my claustrophobia)

If you don't have space to do this, you gotta use a trench box

Don't pile your spoils on the edge of the trench

You gotta have a ladder in there so guys can get out (not ride in/out in a trackhoe bucket)

If there is water in there, you gotta pump it

When you get done in the evening, you gotta put up some barricades


That's pretty much it. If you do these things you won't kill or be killed by a trench collapse.
I always thought benching or sloping above 5' was done at 1:1?
 

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there are those 11 million illegals from 1991 all there, so there's pressure to do it or be replaced.
Not sure about OSHA, but I'm in mining (which is under MSHA), and if you refuse to do something unsafe and the company tries to fire you for it...or for any reason (retaliation), you could end up owning the company.

Surely OSHA has some protections in place for an employee who refuses to risk life and limb on the job.
 

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Article said the trench was 10-20 feet deep and 75 feet long. I wonder if, as plumbers, they had any kind of trench safety training.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
tgeb said:
Sorry to hear of this. Thanks for the post Greg. I participated in "Competent Man" training when it was first offered back in the mid 1980's, (when it was OK to be a man, now you have to be a person), I review the regulations periodically, to remind myself and also have an upper hand when discussing particulars with GC's.... Residential sewer house connections are probably the most dangerous excavations out there. You typically run from class b soil into class c soil, but have no idea how much of what you are digging into has been previously excavated and that is the material that will fall in without notice. I have gotten "Cocky" with age, but in a different way, I am not one bit afraid to shut down and find a method to make a site safe. Recently we did a sewer replacement that had no room to pile the spoils on site, I shut it down, got a truck to back up to the excavator so the soil was loaded right on the truck, the customer paid to have it hauled away, and have filled hauled back. There is no reason not to be safe, if it is not completed today...tomorrow will be there for the crew as long as they are alive. I look at every trench, and I mean every trench as one that can fall in. Always have a spotter that knows what signs to look for prior to a trench collapse.
That's what separates you from others... You're a professional contractor and you there to work and not play... Not to mention you take every job seriously and safety is your number 1 concern as it should be.
 
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