Excavation Safety Training

Excavation: Competent Person Training

When you open an excavation you must follow OSHA requirements as specified in 29 CFR 1926.651 and 1926.652. This includes designating a Competent Person. According to OSHA, a Competent Person is defined as someone who identify excavation hazards and who has the authority to take whatever corrective actions are required.

There are many possible hazards associated with digging operations. In addition, excavations often occur in the middle of other construction projects which may also be creating hazards. Competent Person must be able to assess both existing hazards and those that are likely in the future based on job site conditions.

Once these hazards have been identified Competent Persons must also have the authority to take corrective actions. The type of corrective action needed is a function of the hazard. But the ultimate corrective action is to remove workers from hazards. This means the Competent Person for Excavations must have the authority to order any and all exposed workers out of the excavation until the hazard can be mitigated. In other words, they have to have been given the worksite authority to stop the job.

Our Excavation Safety Competent Person program focuses on helping students be able to identify hazards associated with excavating such as hazardous atmospheres, water intrusion, surcharge loads, and falling loads. We explain how soils fail and how to recognize signs that soil is about to fail. We discuss factors that make the soil more likely to fail and simple manual tests that can be done to determine the soil type.

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Jim Johnson April 17, 2014
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