Excavation or Trenching Safe Work Method Statement

By | January 17, 2020

Main contractors will conduct inductions for all workers (inclusive of employees and subcontractors) prior to commencing site work.

A record of site inductions and toolbox meetings will be kept at the contractors office for future reference.

The contractor or client will provide adequate amenities (toilets, wash rooms, dining facilities etc) as defined for this work type and in accordance with safe work regulations of the country.

All workers engaged in site work are required to wear the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as noted in this document.

No glass containers will be allowed on site (except in meal rooms).

The consumption of illegal drugs and alcohol is prohibited.

Wear sunscreen, wide brim hat, long sleeve shirt with collar, trousers and wrap around sunglasses;

Work in the shade when possible or under a shade structure; and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Risk Assessment Requirements

Do a Risk Assessment prior to commencing work and review the contractor’s site safety plan and Emergency Procedures and/or subcontractors’ Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS);

  • Use the Risk Assessment Worksheet and Hazard Report Form.
  • Identify additional safety controls where required;
  • Obtain approvals from the supply authorities where required;
  • Make sure workers are trained, qualified or experienced to carry out the specified tasks; and
  • Request appropriate licences or certification when required before allowing work to commence.

Construction Site Induction 

All workers including subcontractors must have completed the General Construction Induction Training and hold a current card or certification;

Conduct a site specific induction for all project workers and have them sign a Site Induction Register including but not limited to:

  • Hazards specific to the site and work activities to be carried out;
  • Safety controls and revised Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS);
  • Use and maintenance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);
  • Emergency and evacuation procedures; and Location of amenities and first aid facilities.

Preparation of work area for Excavation

Erect warning signs to warn others of excavations or trenches and the associated risks.

Where pedestrian access is restricted by excavation or trenching works, provide safe and adequate marked walkways for use by pedestrians around the works.

New workers on site must check with Site Supervisor for locations of all excavations.

Arrange for flashing warning lights and/or temporary lighting to be operational when dark.

Check for underground services – dial before you dig (DBYD) and note the service location, type, depth and any restrictions that apply;

Obtain any appropriate approvals from the utility or service providers.

Make sure that no conductive objects are in contact with or are likely to come in contact with any live conductors / overhead transmission lines etc.

Hand excavate if exact location of services is unknown.

Make sure nearby footings, slabs, walls or other existing structures are not damaged by excavation works.

Make sure structural engineering drawings and specification are followed.

Excavation Work Method Statement Procedure

Restrict access to the work area to only those involved in the activity and make sure it is kept clear at all times.

All workers must wear high visibility clothing and boots at all times, and hardhats, hearing protection, dust mask and gloves as required;

Provide clear access for vehicles to enter, exit and move on site.

Designate a responsible person to direct vehicles and do not stand on the downhill side or directly behind a moving or unloading truck;

Keep clear of the load gate when releasing the pin;

Check for overhead wires, structures and branches especially when tipping;

Make sure the excavator operator has seen you if you are near by; and make sure trucks can exit steep or muddy sites when empty.Excavation or Trenching Safe Work Method Statement

Make sure no workers enter an unsupported section of excavation or carry out any excavation work without supervision.

Shore up sides of excavation if ground is unstable or if greater than 1.5m deep.

Approved shoring methods include pre-cast panels, trench shields, soldier sets and sandbags.

Both benching and battering of walls are also methods of work which minimize the risk of rock and/or soil slipping into the excavation.

Compaction with a vibrating roller must not be carried out within 600mm of any utility infrastructure.

Make sure all excavated or fill materials are placed a minimum of 600mm away from the edge of the excavation.

Where excavated or fill materials need to be placed closer than 600mm from the edge of the excavation, make sure an effective barrier is installed to prevent them from falling into the excavation.

Make sure at least 2 workers are present on site at all times during the work activity in case of emergency.

Make sure operator has the appropriate certificates or experience to operate the equipment;

Make sure the equipment is in good working condition and regularly maintained;

Wear high visibility clothing, hearing protection, hardhats and boots;

Make sure operator has seen you when working near moving plant and;

Trench digging works

Make sure no workers enter an unsupported section of trench or carry out any trenching work without supervision.

Use the correct tool for the task and train workers in it’s correct use;

Check tools are in good working condition;

Check to make sure trenching supports are appropriate to the conditions.

Make sure safe ladder access is available for all workers.

Make sure spoil heaps are positioned at least 900mm away from the trench.

Make sure at least 2 workers are present on site at all times during the work activity in case of emergency.

Use of backhoe for Excavation / Trenching

Make sure operator has the appropriate certificates or experience to operate the equipment;

Make sure the equipment is in good working condition and regularly maintained;

Check with Site Supervisor to identify details of underground services

Arrange for a worker to act as a spotter and maintain a safe distance from the machine;

Spotter to make sure the operator can seen you when working near moving plant and is to wear high visibility clothing, hearing protection, hardhats and boots;

The backhoe operator is to be aware of spotter’s location at all times and maintain a safe distance.

Hand excavate using a shovel to locate services at approximate location.

Make sure excavations and trenches are battered or benched if they are deeper than 1.5m.

Make sure excavated materials are stockpiled at least 2m away from the excavation.