Excavation Method Statement

The most important facets of any excavation project are the safety and organization of that project. Consequently, there should be a heavy focus on those topics when brainstorming and preparing your excavation. There isn't any better framework for insuring project safety and organization than the excavation method statement. But what exactly does an excavation method statement do? What does it look like? After all, if you can't recognize it when you see it, it isn't much good! Well, don't worry, because it just so happens that we have a sample to check out right here! But first, let's find out a little more about it, shall we?

An excavation method statement is, quite simply, a piece of paperwork which outlines proper practices for the insurance of safety and good workflow on the job site. As such, it is sometimes referred to as a safe work method statement. The title is fitting; clear and present instructions are to be found within an excavation method statement for the safe and timely operation of equipment, performance of job tasks, and any other thing which might contribute to a well-done job.

Having an excavation method statement (as compared to other method statements for other jobs) is particularly important, since excavations often present particularly hazardous conditions for workers involved in them, such as the ever-present risk of cave-ins. Additionally, it is the law in many areas that an excavation method statement be present when such work is underway.

As with most other forms of method statement, an excavation method statement covers the following points:

  1. Purpose. Put simply, this is the section of the excavation method statement where a general overview of the project is placed. The goal here is to make sure than anyone who might need to read the statement (everyone on the job site) can know what's going on at a basic level. To use a pun, it puts everyone on the same page.
  2. Scope. This section is all about answering the question of what it's going to take to complete the project at hand. Size of the project, estimated cost, equipment needed, hours / estimated time to completion, and other factors will usually be discussed here.
  3. References. This section of the excavation method statement is set apart for any relevant legal-speak. This is where you cite relevant civil codes and the like, and should be thought of as a sort of encyclopedia or "works cited" for the project.
  4. Definitions. Every excavation method statement will have a definitions section, even though most folks working in a place where an excavation method statement would be required won't need it. As a quick guide to what each and every thing on the job site is (i.e. "A shovel is….", or "Vacuum excavation is….", it's there to help the new people working on-site.
  5. Responsibilities. In an excavation method statement, this is the portion of the document where everyone's specific job is outlined in a way that they can (hopefully) understand. Basically, if you are the guy that holds the nozzle of the vacuum excavation apparatus, this section will outline that job, how you're to do it, etc. That way, everyone knows where they fit in the process of completing the job at hand.
  6. Equipment. This section of the excavation method statement outlines every piece equipment used during the course of the project, from nails to dynamite.
  7. Risk Assessment. This one is a no-brainer: How dangerous is this going to be? What are the risks to man and machine?
  8. Safety. This is the corollary to item 7 - What can be done to minimize the risks particular to this excavation project?
  9. Procedure. Much like the Responsibilities section, this part of the excavation method statement gives the reader a list of what to do, and how + when to do it. Think of it as a sort of "insert Tab A into Slot B" sort of thing…. but for excavation projects. Follow it to the letter, and what was once a hole in the ground will become a hole in the ground with a building or section of infrastructure in it.
  10. Attachments (if any). This is the excavation method statement's answer to an appendix. Some will have them, some won't. It depends upon the scope of the project in question.
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