7 Deadly Hazards in Excavation works

The Hazards & risks arising from the Excavation




It’s Impossible to ensure the Excavation safety without understanding the possible hazards & risks that might present during digging,The following hazards may present during the excavation operations, may differ based on the work environment in which the excavation is takes place,

Deadly hazard 1: Collapse Of excavation


The Collapse of excavation which may due to,

  1. The soil conditions which unable to carry the own mass of its sides
  2. The selection of wrong type of excavation methods example : Mechanical excavation on the loose soil conditions
  3. The instability of soil to withstand the load , which may promoted by the bad weather conditions such as rain
  4. The Positioning of vehicles near to the excavation edges , which may affect the stability
  5. The lack of protective systems such as shoring , shielding
  6. The Presence of cave-in
  7. The positioning of removed soil near to the excavation sides , which may increase the weight on edges & leads to collapse.



Deadly hazard 2: Falling of persons inside the Excavation


The Falling of persons into the Excavation which may due to,
  • Lack of systems to protect the entry of persons into or near to the excavation such as missing of barricading ,
  • The lack of hazard communication systems to make the persons aware of excavation
  • The Lack of suitable means of access & egress into the excavation , which may increase the chance of climbing to the top & similarly the risk of fall 


Deadly Hazard 3: Falling or dislodging of Materials


  • The Falling of objects, dislodgement of soil, falling of vehicle into the Excavation which may due to,
  • The lack of systems to prevent falling of objects such as missing of trench sheets , edge protections etc
  • The storage of removed soil near to the excavation edges
  • The positioning of vehicle’s or parking of vehicles near to the excavation without any measures to prevent over run such as hand brakes , wheel chokes.
  • The improper transmission of to and from the excavations ex: throwing.




Deadly Hazard 4: Cut or crush to underground services


The Presence of Underground services:

One of the Major hazards existing during the excavation operation is that, the presence of underground power lines such as water pipelines, electrical services, gas pipes, telecommunication lines etc

Always there is a risk of cut, crush, damage to the pipelines, cables, services which needs to be considered always before starting digging at any place.

Buried services are always riskier because of,
  • Their existence in unexpected locations
  • Sometimes they may very near to the ground lines
  • The change of service locations without notice to the owners etc


Deadly Hazard 5: Presence of toxic & Flammable Gases


The presence of toxic & flammable gases during excavation’s

Most of the times , the fatalities occur due to the presence of toxic gases , which may present due to micro biological decay or naturally forming gases in ground such as H2s , which may create risk to the workers involved in the excavation operations



Deadly Hazard 6: Oxygen deficiency  



The Risk of asphyxiation and suffocation due to the reduced oxygen levels in the deep excavations, especially when the oxygen levels fall below the safe level.


It is also important to remember the Presence of snake, insects, also will create a risk.



Deadly Hazard 7: Flooding   


The occurrence of flood either due to,
  1. Bursting of water pipelines
  2. The excavation above ground water levels
  3. The occurrence of rain which may create a risk of slip , fall and even drowning where the person trapped by the sudden release of water or any form of liquids.



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