Go out to any construction site, and you will see workers milling about and plenty of machinery being used to help with the heavier tasks. From the most modest homes to great buildings that are landmarks in some of Australia’s most iconic cities, these buildings began with the organized chaos that construction often can seem. More importantly, though, every structure regardless of its size or style begins with the first dig.

Excavating to provide space to build new structures can be an involved affair, from getting the requisite permits to finding the appropriate loader for sale. Excavating generally involves removing dirt, soil, or rock to create a tunnel or trench required for drainage, foundations or some other stage of the construction process. Before excavating, builders have a lot of work to do in preparation for beginning this phase of construction.

Keep reading to learn more about the process of excavation so that you can prepare with confidence.

Excavation Risks

During the planning stages, builders have to assess risk. Risk can involve anything related to the health and safety of anyone working at or visiting the site. Examples of some of the most common risks include falls from one level to another, dislodgement of rock or soil, hazardous noises and vibrations, moving equipment, and finally exposure to contaminants in the air. Before any digging begins, all of the risks associated with a particular project have to be assessed and addressed. All off this will require coordination among the various project leaders, such as the principal contractor, demolition contractor, structural engineers, and plant operators.

Examples Of Reducing Risk

A few examples of the types of risk that a project manager might have to address can run the gamut. For example, when trying to break rocks, use an excavator as opposed to trying to do it manually. Another example is the use of construction barriers to prevent accidents from happening with pedestrians and other vehicles in the area.

There are also engineering controls which must be adhered to like benching, battering, and shoring the sides of the excavation area to prevent the trench from collapsing. Finally, builders should take the time to place warning signs near the site and providing construction workers with hard hats, steel cap boots, and high-visibility vests.

Managing Risk

When excavation risks have been assessed, managing risks while onsite becomes a part of the daily routine, i.e., making sure that everything on the site is secured, safety in regards to the nature of the work are addressed and safely guaranteeing the entry and exit of workers onto the site on a daily basis. Builders also have to get in contact with all of the organizations related to the underground services related to the site and the surrounding areas.

They also have to make sure subcontractors get copies of relevant information related to the site just in case an incident occurs on site. Finally, for excavation work that requires digging a trench more than 1.5 meters deep, builders are required to make sure that area is secured against unauthorized entry just in case the trench collapses. The only instance when this last step can be avoided is if contractors have written approval from a geotechnical engineer.

In The Event, You Dig

As with most areas around the world, Australia’s call-before-you-dig policy is designed to ensure that underground infrastructure is not harmed during the excavation. Cable, utility, and electric companies should be alerted of any plans to excavate in the area. In fact, Dial Before You Dig is a free national service that will allow those planning to excavate to call a single contact point, so you do not have to contact each office.

Digging It Safely

Each locality will have laws and ordinances that outline procedures related to excavation. If looking to excavate for any reason, contact your work health and safety authority to get the proper steps in carrying out these activities. While, at its very core, it might just be digging up the earth, you want to be sure that you take the necessary steps to ensure the excavation is carried out safely and successfully.