Workplace Health and Safety legislation is now so much a part of daily life in Australia, that ordinary people often do not notice the common signs of hazard identification when they pass it in the street. When properly addressed, hazards can be managed to enable work to proceed as needed, without endangering workers or the general public.
Take for example, workers replacing old roofing iron, which is a common practice in Queensland as thousands of pre1970s dwellings age. Where once you might have seen them walking across the roof without anything in place to prevent an accidental fall, now there is edge protection around the entire perimeter, and observers take it for granted.
Safety Code of Practice Covers Excavations
The same is true of excavations of all sizes. Underground cable pits are always enclosed with temporary fencing, and warning signs erected, before any work begins. Large construction sites are always fenced off and permits required for entry, especially when foundations are being excavated.
At DeeGees Bobcats, being able to manage the risks around excavations are essential to our business. We specialise in drainage, trenching, swimming pool and under house excavations, so knowing what is required by legislation and how to protect our staff and customers is part of what we do.
Some Common Risks
Depending on the type and depth of the excavation, there is a range of issues that need to be addressed. Common risks are someone falling into the excavation, or being trapped by a cave-in, someone working in the excavation being struck by a falling object or being exposed to an airborne contaminant.
Control Measures include Underground Services
One issue important to us is that we are informed by the person in control of the work of any underground services that could be affected by our excavation machinery. This prevents incidents such as water and power being accidentally cut to surrounding properties.
Fencing and Signs Essential
At every excavation we perform, we ensure that the area is fenced to prevent unauthorised access, and that the appropriate signage is placed to alert everyone to the hazard. This includes other workers on the site, the property owners and anyone else who may attempt to gain access.
Plant Operation and Maintenance
We must also ensure that the type of equipment we use is suitable for the purpose, and that our plant is operated only by a competent person. We must have the appropriate guards and operator protective devices fitted and that we maintain our items of plant in accordance with Australian Standards.
We take the safety of our excavations very seriously and complying with all the relevant regulations is part of the way we conduct our business. There is no trick to it, just sound risk management.