Recently, Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) officers have issued several improvement orders for guarding excavations.
Digging a trench for sewer hookups or excavating a foundation for a house can be common projects in residential areas, and depending on your site conditions, it’s possible you may need to guard these excavation areas with a fence to prevent an incident.
According to WSH Regulation Part 26.12(1), when excavation work is being carried out in an area where people not engaged in the work may pass by, an employer must ensure that the excavation is adequately guarded by a fence, guardrail, or covering sufficient to prevent a person from falling in the excavation.
There are many variables and site conditions that can affect where guarding will be required, so it’s important that contractors conduct a hazard assessment on the location of the excavation, as it relates to whether the possibility exists that someone could fall into the excavation.
Here are some variables to consider:
- Is the excavation site near a school or playground?
- Is it next to a show home or infill housing?
- Is the site located on a corner lot?
- Is it near a neighbourhood path, pedestrian/bike path, or anywhere the public has access to?
If you answer yes to any of the above questions or are concerned that the possibility of someone falling into an excavation exists, put up the appropriate barricades. This could look like a barrier made from snow fence or a metal fence.
If you have drilled any pile holes or fencepost holes, it’s also important to ensure they are capped or filled with concrete to prevent someone from falling into the hole.
If you need assistance with creating the appropriate barrier for your excavation site, speak to a safety advisor by calling 204-775-3171 in Winnipeg or 204-728-3456 in Brandon.