Excavation Risk Assessment

The excavation risk assessment is (or should be) part of every job site, in the form of a page in the project's method statement. While an excavation risk assessment can vary as widely as the projects they are associated with, there are a few things you can lock down, and, as a result, be a little more prepared and able to avoid accidents.

Chief among the considerations involved in making an accurate excavation risk assessment is the type of material you will be excavating in. What this means is, will you be digging in soil? Rock? A mix of the two? This is an important piece of information. Rock is much more stable than straight soil, but a soil-rock mixture may be even more dangerous than simple dirt, due to its inherent instability.

Another thing worth considering when attempting to make an excavation risk assessment is the methods used to perform the excavation. Will you be using heavy machinery? How about explosives? The materials used to shape the excavation site can be just as formidable and dangerous as the environment itself.

You should also consider the age and experience of the workers involved in the excavation project. It is simple statistics that point out the "new guy" is more likely to make mistakes than someone who's been working on such projects for years. There are, of course, exceptions. A careless veteran can make a dangerous, even fatal error just as easily as a careless new man on the job.

Listing each and every criterion useful in determining and formulating an excavation risk assessment would be impossible. It is, however, fair to say that until a particular project is (pardon the pun) set in stone, any excavation risk assessment that IS formulated is at best, an estimate. Each excavation project is unique, and so too are their corresponding excavation risk assessments.

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