PIER (UK) has worked in the Vac-Ex industry since 2009 and now more than ever, our team understand the importance of Vacuum Excavation safety throughout all of the sites that our operators attend on a daily basis.
Ensuring safety for all parties at all times is an essential aspect of modern-day contract work. Failing to comply with a full safety briefing assessment may result in disastrous consequences for on-site workers and the management team, including project delays and injuries.
Poor preparation is usually one of the main causes of incidents occurring on-site. Injuries from trench collapse or serious utility strikes can be avoided with correct planning that is continually maintained throughout the working day.
The HSE Guidelines have highlighted 6 essential steps that must be taken by the manager and on-site workers for both before and during the excavation work to prevent accidents in excavations.
The steps the on-site manager must take:
- Be aware that there is no safe minimum depth of excavation.
- Ensure that the adequate inspections are thoroughly carried out for all excavations on a weekly basis, especially after droughts of extreme bad weather.
- Ensure that the excavations are made as safe as possible, by using trench supports or any other effective measures.
- Ensure that the plant does not go too close to the edge of an excavation.
- Provide competent supervision at all times.
- Providing training for the team, which highlights all the risk – both big and small.
The steps the on-site workers must take:
- Be fully alert to the risk from underground services or undermining adjacent structures.
- Keep the plant at a safe distance from the excavation edge.
- Maintain fencing and other safety measures in order to protect these around.
- Never go into an unsupported trench, where there is a risk of collapse.
- Never work outside the protection of trench boxes or trench supports.
- Never work underneath the excavator boom.
An ever-growing number of contractors are opting for the safer methods of excavation as a way of noting the importance of Vacuum Excavation safety. Excavation techniques such as Vacuum Excavation is considered to be the safer, more consistent and more reliable way to excavate.
Learn more about Vacuum Excavation
A Vacuum Excavator is able to excavate up to 4m3 per hour, without requiring any manual labour or the use of a mechanical digger. The large suction arm is remotely operated from a safe distance away, ensuring that the area is clear until all of the pipework has been exposed and greatly reduces the risk of any personal injuries or service strikes.
Even though Vacuum Excavation is a cheaper option and twelve times faster than the more traditional excavation methods, companies within the Construction, Highway and Utilities industries are attracted by the speed, efficiency and array of safety benefits.
Vacuum Excavators’ have proven to be particularly useful following from the 2018 announcement of a nationwide ‘lane rental’ scheme and are increasingly being utilised to speed-up work on construction sites within built-up areas.
As the industry leaders in Vacuum Excavation, PIER (UK) listen carefully to their customers’ requirements and provide a solution that is suitable for the job at hand.