Spoil-Pile Placement and Safety

spoil pileCave-ins are one of the biggest dangers--and leading causes of accidents--in the construction industry. Your spoil-pile can be a contributor to such dangerous accidents. Are you placing your spoil-pile a safe distance from the work site?

Spoil-Pile Explained

'Spoil-pile' is a broad term that refers to a deposit of any excavated material. In most cases, this entails dirt, soil, gravel, and crushed pavement. The pile itself isn't dangerous. However, when someone leaves the pile exceptionally close to a trench, that's when the danger arises. The weight of the spoils can cause the dirt in a nearby trench to cave in. Piles that are exceptionally high can also come tumbling down, causing a mini avalanche.

How to Safely Handle Spoil-Piles

  • All spoils should be a minimum of 2-feet away from trenches or other designated excavation areas. Under no circumstances should someone ever place spoils at the lip of a trench.
  • Use a trench box or other retaining device to prevent spoil-piles from falling back into the trench. OSHA standards require a retaining device or other cave-in protection system for trenches deeper than 5-feet.
  • If you are unable to place spoils at least 2-feet away, then find a location outside the construction zone.

Assign a Competent Person (CP)

A CP is essentially an onsite safety supervisor. This person must make judgement calls regarding potentially dangerous situations. For example, trenches less than 5-feet deep may still require some form of trench shield if the soil is excessively sandy. Wet and sandy soils are at a greater risk of caving in, even in relatively shallow trenches.

Safety Always Comes First

Once you understand spoil-pile safety, contact Active Excavator Rentals for a range of top-of-the-line excavators and breaker attachments. Learn about us to know why we are the go-to agency for Monroe contractors. Remember always to be mindful of spoil-pile placement during excavation.

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