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######################EXCAVATION WORK Draft Code of Pract ice

Table of Cont ent s # TOC \o "1-3" \h \z \u ##HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530943"#FOREWORD


# PAGEREF _Toc304530943 \h ##3###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530944"#SCOPE AND
APPLICATION # PAGEREF _Toc304530944 \h ##3###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530945"#1
INTRODUCTION
# PAGEREF _Toc304530945 \h ##4###HYPERLINK \l
"_Toc304530946"#1.1
What is excavat ion work?
# PAGEREF _Toc304530946 \h
##4###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530947"#1.2
Who has dut ies relat ing t o excavat ion
work? # PAGEREF _Toc304530947 \h ##4###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530948"#1.3
What is involved in managing ris ks as s ociat ed wit h excavat ion work?
#
PAGEREF _Toc304530948 \h ##5###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530949"#2
MANAGING RISK S
WITH EXCAVATION WORK
# PAGEREF _Toc304530949 \h ##7###HYPERLINK \l
"_Toc304530950"#2.1
Ident iyfing hazards
# PAGEREF _Toc304530950 \h ##7##
#HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530951"#2.2 As s es s ing t he ris ks
# PAGEREF
_Toc304530951 \h ##7###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530952"#2.3
Cont rolling t he ris ks
# PAGEREF _Toc304530952 \h ##8###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530953"#2.4
Reviewing ris k cont rol meas ures
# PAGEREF _Toc304530953 \h ##9##
#HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530954"#3
PLANNING THE EXCAVATION WORK # PAGEREF
_Toc304530954 \h ##10###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530955"#3.1
Principal cont ract or
# PAGEREF _Toc304530955 \h ##10###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530956"#3.2
Des igners
# PAGEREF _Toc304530956 \h ##10###HYPERLINK \l
"_Toc304530957"#3.3
Preparing Safe Work Met hod St at ement s
# PAGEREF
_Toc304530957 \h ##11###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530958"#3.4
Adjacent buildings or
s t ruct ures # PAGEREF _Toc304530958 \h ##11###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530959"#3.5
Es s ent ial s ervices
# PAGEREF _Toc304530959 \h ##12###HYPERLINK \l
"_Toc304530960"#3.6
Securing t he work area # PAGEREF _Toc304530960 \h ##13##
#HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530961"#3.7 Emergency plan
# PAGEREF _Toc304530961 \h
##13###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530962"#4
EXCAVATION WORK AND METHODS
# PAGEREF
_Toc304530962 \h ##14###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530963"#4.1
Trenching
# PAGEREF
_Toc304530963 \h ##14###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530964"#4.2
Tunnelling # PAGEREF
_Toc304530964 \h ##14###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530965"#4.3
Shaft s
# PAGEREF
_Toc304530965 \h ##16###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530966"#5
PREVENTING GROUND
COLLAPSE
# PAGEREF _Toc304530966 \h ##18###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530967"#5.1
Benching and bat t ering # PAGEREF _Toc304530967 \h ##20###HYPERLINK \l
"_Toc304530968"#5.2
Shoring
# PAGEREF _Toc304530968 \h ##21##
#HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530969"#5.3 St eel t rench s heet ing
# PAGEREF
_Toc304530969 \h ##24###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530970"#5.4
Removal of s horing
s upport s
# PAGEREF _Toc304530970 \h ##28###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530971"#5.5
Shields and boxes # PAGEREF _Toc304530971 \h ##28###HYPERLINK \l
"_Toc304530972"#5.6
Ot her ground s upport met hods # PAGEREF _Toc304530972 \h
##29###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530973"#5.7 Regular ins pect ion
# PAGEREF
_Toc304530973 \h ##29###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530974"#6
OTHER EXCAVATION WORK
RISK S AND CONTROLS
# PAGEREF _Toc304530974 \h ##30###HYPERLINK \l
"_Toc304530975"#6.1
Excavat ed mat erial and loads near excavat ions # PAGEREF
_Toc304530975 \h ##30###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530976"#6.2
Plant and equipment
# PAGEREF _Toc304530976 \h ##32###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530977"#6.3
Powered mobile plant
# PAGEREF _Toc304530977 \h ##32###HYPERLINK \l
"_Toc304530978"#6.4
Falls # PAGEREF _Toc304530978 \h ##35###HYPERLINK \l
"_Toc304530979"#6.5
Explos ives and blas t ing # PAGEREF _Toc304530979 \h ##36##
#HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530980"#6.6 At mos pheric condit ions and vent ilat ion
#
PAGEREF _Toc304530980 \h ##37###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530981"#6.7 Manual work #
PAGEREF _Toc304530981 \h ##38###HYPERLINK \l "_Toc304530982"#APPENDIX A DEFINITIONS # PAGEREF _Toc304530982 \h ##39###

FOREWORDThis Code of Pract ice for managing healt h and s afet y ris ks as s ociat ed
wit h excavat ion work is an approved code of pract ice under s ect ion 274 of t he
Work Healt h and Safet y Act (t he WHS Act ).An approved code of pract ice is a
pract ical guide t o achieving t he s t andards of healt h, s afet y and welfare
required under t he WHS Act and t he Work Healt h and Safet y Regulat ions (t he WHS
Regulat ions ).A code of pract ice applies t o anyone who has a dut y of care in t he
circums t ances des cribed in t he code. In mos t cas es , following an approved code
of pract ice would achieve compliance wit h t he healt h and s afet y dut ies in t he
WHS Act , in relat ion t o t he s ubject mat t er of t he code. Like regulat ions , codes
of pract ice deal wit h part icular is s ues and do not cover all hazards or ris ks
which may aris e. The healt h and s afet y dut ies require dut y holders t o cons ider
all ris ks as s ociat ed wit h work, not only t hos e for which regulat ions and codes
of pract ice exis t . Codes of pract ice are admis s ible in court proceedings under
t he WHS Act and Regulat ions . Court s may regard a code of pract ice as evidence of
what is known about a hazard, ris k or cont rol and may rely on t he code in
det ermining what is reas onably pract icable in t he circums t ances t o which t he
code relat es .Compliance wit h t he WHS Act and Regulat ions may be achieved by
following anot her met hod, s uch as a t echnical or an indus t ry s t andard, if it
provides an equivalent or higher s t andard of work healt h and s afet y t han t he
code. An ins pect or may refer t o an approved code of pract ice when is s uing an
improvement or prohibit ion not ice. This Code of Pract ice has been developed by
Safe Work Aus t ralia as a model code of pract ice under t he Council of Aus t ralian
Government s Int er-Government al Agreement for Regulat ory and Operat ional Reform
in Occupat ional Healt h and Safet y for adopt ion by t he Commonwealt h, s t at e and
t errit ory government s .A draft of t his Code of Pract ice was releas ed for public
cons ult at ion on 26 Sept ember 2011 and was endors ed by t he Select Council on
Workplace Relat ions on [t o be complet ed]. SCOPE AND APPLICATIONThis Code
provides pract ical guidance t o pers ons conduct ing a bus ines s or undert aking on
how t o manage t he healt h and s afet y ris ks as s ociat ed wit h excavat ion work. This
Code applies t o all t ypes of excavat ion work, including deep bulk excavat ions ,
t renches , s haft s and t unnels .The guidance in t his Code is relevant t o excavat ion
cont ract ors as well as pers ons conduct ing a bus ines s or undert aking who have
management or cont rol of workplaces where excavat ion work is carried out , s uch
as principal cont ract ors .Pers ons who have dut ies in relat ion t o excavat ion work
s hould als o refer t o t he Code of Pract ice: Managing Ris ks in Cons t ruct ion Work.
How t o us e t his code of pract iceIn providing guidance, t he word s hould is us ed
in t his Code t o indicat e a recommended cours e of act ion, while may is us ed t o
indicat e an opt ional cours e of act ion.This Code als o includes various references
t o provis ions of t he WHS Act and Regulat ions which s et out t he legal
requirement s . Thes e references are not exhaus t ive. The words mus t , requires
or mandat ory indicat e t hat a legal requirement exis t s and mus t be complied
wit h.

INTRODUCTION What is excavat ion work?Any work t hat is connect ed wit h an


excavat ion is clas s ified as cons t ruct ion work under t he WHS Regulat ions and
t herefore t he relevant requirement s relat ing t o cons t ruct ion work mus t be
complied wit h.Excavat ion work is defined in t he WHS Regulat ions as work t hat
is undert aken t o:make an excavat ion; orfill or part ly fill an excavat ion.The WHS
Regulat ions for excavat ion work do not apply where t he excavat ion is :a mine, ora
bore t o which a relevant wat er law applies , ora t rench for us e as a place of
burial or int erment of t he dead.Ot her definit ions relat ing t o excavat ion work
are lis t ed in Appendix A.High ris k cons t ruct ion workThe WHS Regulat ions clas s ify
a number of act ivit ies as high ris k cons t ruct ion work for which a s afe work
met hod s t at ement (SWMS) mus t be prepared before t he work s t art s . High ris k
cons t ruct ion work t hat may be undert aken as part of excavat ion work includes
work t hat : involves a ris k of a pers on falling more t han 2 met res involves , or
is likely t o involve, t he dis t urbance of as bes t os involves s t ruct ural alt erat ions
or repairs t hat require t emporary s upport t o prevent collaps eis carried out in
or near a confined s paceis carried out in or near a s haft or t rench wit h an
excavat ed dept h great er t han 1.5 met res , or a t unnelinvolves t he us e of
explos ives is carried out on or near pres s uris ed gas dis t ribut ion mains or piping
is carried out on or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines is carried out on
or near energis ed elect rical ins t allat ions or s ervices is carried out in an area
t hat may have a cont aminat ed or flammable at mos phereis carried out on, in or
adjacent t o a road, railway, s hipping lane or ot her t raffic corridor t hat is in
us e by t raffic ot her t han pedes t rians is carried out at a workplace in which
t here is any movement of powered mobile plant is carried out in or near wat er or
ot her liquid t hat involves a ris k of drowning.Furt her guidance on t he dut ies
relat ed t o high ris k cons t ruct ion work and SWMS is available in t he [draft ] Code
of Pract ice: Managing Ris ks in Cons t ruct ion Work.Who has dut ies relat ing t o
excavat ion work?A pers on conduct ing a bus ines s or undert aking has t he primary
dut y under t he WHS Act t o ens ure, s o far as is reas onably pract icable, t hat
workers and ot her pers ons are not expos ed t o healt h and s afet y ris ks aris ing
from t he bus ines s or undert aking. A pers on conduct ing a bus ines s or undert aking
has more s pecific obligat ions under t he WHS Regulat ions t o manage healt h and
s afet y ris ks as s ociat ed wit h excavat ion work, including implement ing s pecific
ris k cont rols for t renches .A pers on conduct ing a bus ines s or undert aking who has
management or cont rol of a workplace where excavat ion work is being carried out
mus t t ake all reas onable s t eps t o obt ain current underground es s ent ial s ervices
informat ion relat ing t o t hat workplace and areas adjacent t o it before any
excavat ion work s t art s . This informat ion mus t be provided t o any pers on engaged
t o carry out excavat ion work.For clarit y, t he pers on conduct ing a bus ines s or
undert aking who carries out t he excavat ion work is s omet imes referred t o in t his
Code as t he excavat ion cont ract or.A principal cont ract or for a cons t ruct ion
project (a project where t he cos t of t he cons t ruct ion work is $250 000 or more)
has addit ional dut ies , including t o:t ake all reas onable s t eps t o obt ain a copy
of each SWMS before any high ris k cons t ruct ion work commences , andprepare a
writ t en WHS management plan for t he workplace before work on t he cons t ruct ion
project commences .Des igners of s t ruct ures mus t ens ure, s o far as is reas onably
pract icable, t hat t he s t ruct ure is wit hout ris ks t o healt h and s afet y. Des igners
mus t give t he pers on who commis s ioned t he des ign a writ t en s afet y report t hat
s pecifies t he hazards relat ing t o t he des ign of t he s t ruct ure (s ee als o s ect ions
3.2 and 4.2 of t his Code).Officers , s uch as company direct ors , have a dut y t o
exercis e due diligence t o ens ure t hat t he bus ines s or undert aking complies wit h
t heir dut ies and obligat ions . This includes t aking reas onable s t eps t o ens ure
t hat t he bus ines s or undert aking has and us es appropriat e res ources and
proces s es t o eliminat e or minimis e ris ks t hat aris e from t he cons t ruct ion work.
Workers have a dut y t o t ake reas onable care for t heir own healt h and s afet y and
mus t not advers ely affect t he healt h and s afet y of ot her pers ons . Workers mus t
comply wit h any reas onable ins t ruct ion and cooperat e wit h any reas onable policy
or procedure relat ing t o healt h and s afet y at t he workplace. What is involved
in managing ris ks as s ociat ed wit h excavat ion work?In order t o manage ris k under
t he WHS Regulat ions , a dut y holder mus t :a) ident ify reas onably fores eeable
hazards t hat could give ris e t o t he ris kb) eliminat e t he ris k s o far as is
reas onably pract icablec) if it is not reas onably pract icable t o eliminat e t he
ris k minimis e t he ris k s o far as is reas onably pract icable by implement ing
cont rol meas ures in accordance wit h t he hierarchy of ris k cont rold) maint ain

t he cont rol meas ure s o t hat it remains effect ive, ande) review, and if
neces s ary revis e ris k cont rol meas ures s o as t o maint ain, s o far as is
reas onably pract icable, a work environment t hat is wit hout ris ks t o healt h and
s afet y.This Code provides guidance on how t o manage t he ris ks as s ociat ed wit h
excavat ion work by following a s ys t emat ic proces s t hat involves : ident ifying
hazards ,if neces s ary, as s es s ing t he ris ks as s ociat ed wit h t hes e hazards ,
implement ing ris k cont rol meas ures , and maint aining and reviewing t he
effect ivenes s of ris k cont rol meas ures .Guidance on t he general ris k management
proces s is available in t he Code of Pract ice: How t o Manage Work Healt h and
Safet y Ris ks .Cons ult ing workers The WHS Act requires t hat you cons ult , s o far as
is reas onably pract icable, wit h workers who carry out work for you who are (or
are likely t o be) direct ly affect ed by a work healt h and s afet y mat t er. If t he
workers are repres ent ed by a healt h and s afet y repres ent at ive, t he cons ult at ion
mus t involve t hat repres ent at ive.Cons ult at ion wit h workers and t heir healt h and
s afet y repres ent at ives is required at every s t ep of t he ris k management proces s .
In many cas es , decis ions about cons t ruct ion work and project s are made prior t o
engaging workers , t herefore, it may not be pos s ible t o cons ult wit h workers in
t hes e early s t ages . However, it is import ant t o cons ult wit h t hem as t he
excavat ion work progres s es .Cons ult ing, co-operat ing and co-ordinat ing act ivit ies
wit h ot her dut y holders A pers on conduct ing a bus ines s or undert aking mus t
cons ult , co-operat e and co-ordinat e act ivit ies wit h all ot her pers ons who have a
work healt h or s afet y dut y in relat ion t o t he s ame mat t er, s o far as is
reas onably pract icable. A works it e will oft en be s hared by various people moving
around and working on t he s it e, s uch as civil engineers , cont ract ors and mobile
plant operat ors . They s hould exchange informat ion about t he ris ks as s ociat ed
wit h t he excavat ion work, including any t raffic and plant movement s near t he
excavat ion area, and work t oget her in a co-operat ive and co-ordinat ed way s o
t hat all ris ks are eliminat ed or minimis ed s o far as is reas onably pract icable.
Furt her guidance on cons ult at ion is available in t he:[draft ] Code of Pract ice:
Managing Ris ks in Cons t ruct ion Work, andCode of Pract ice: Work Healt h and Safet y
Cons ult at ion, Cooperat ion and Coordinat ion.

MANAGING RISK S WITH EXCAVATION WORK


The WHS Regulat ions require t hat a pers on conduct ing a bus ines s or undert aking
mus t manage ris ks t o healt h and s afet y as s ociat ed wit h excavat ion work before
t he work commences , including t he ris k of:a pers on falling int o an excavat iona
pers on being t rapped by t he collaps e of an excavat iona pers on working in an
excavat ion being s t ruck by a falling t hing, anda pers on working in an excavat ion
being expos ed t o an airborne cont aminant .All relevant mat t ers mus t be cons idered
in managing t he ris ks , including:t he nat ure of t he excavat iont he nat ure of t he
excavat ion work, including t he range of pos s ible met hods of carrying out t he
work, andt he means of ent ry int o and exit from t he excavat ion (if applicable).
Ident iyfing hazards Some examples of excavat ion s pecific hazards include:
underground es s ent ial s ervices - including gas , wat er, s ewerage,
t elecommunicat ions , elect ricit y, chemicals , and fuel or refrigerant in pipes or
lines - informat ion about t he locat ion of t hes e and ot her underground s ervices ,
s uch as drainage pipes and s oak wells , and s t orage t anks , in and adjacent t o t he
workplace, mus t be es t ablis hed before direct ing or allowing excavat ion work t o
commencet he fall or dis lodgement of eart h or rockfalls and falling object s
inappropriat e placement of excavat ed mat erials , plant or ot her loads t he
ins t abilit y of any adjoining s t ruct ure caus ed by t he excavat ionany previous
dis t urbance of t he ground including previous excavat iont he ins t abilit y of t he
excavat ion due t o pers ons or plant working adjacent t o t he excavat iont he
pres ence of or pos s ible inrus h of wat er or ot her liquidhazardous manual t as ks
hazardous chemicals (for example, t hes e may be pres ent in t he s oil where
excavat ion work is t o be carried out )hazardous at mos phere in an excavat ion (for
example, us ing M.E.K . s olvent for PVC pipes in poorly vent ed t renches )vibrat ion
overhead es s ent ial s ervices (powerlines ) and ground mount ed es s ent ial s ervices
(t rans formers , gas and wat er met ers ).As s es s ing t he ris ks When as s es s ing t he ris ks
as s ociat ed wit h excavat ion work you s hould cons ider t hings s uch as :local s it e
condit ions , including acces s , ground s lope, adjacent buildings and s t ruct ures ,
wat er cours es (including underground) and t rees dept h of t he excavat ions oil
propert ies , including variable s oil t ypes , s t abilit y, s hear s t rengt h, cohes ion,
pres ence of ground wat er, effect of expos ure t o t he element s fract ures or fault s
in rocks , including joint s , bedding planes , dip and s t rike direct ions and
angles , clay s eams any s pecialis ed plant or work met hods required (for example,
ground s upport )t he met hod(s ) of t rans port , haul rout es and dis pos alwhat
expos ures might occur, s uch as t o nois e or UV rays t he number of people involved
t he pos s ibilit y of unaut horis ed acces s t o t he work arealocal weat her condit ions ,
andt he lengt h of t ime t hat t he excavat ion will be open.It s hould t hen be
pos s ible t o s elect t he mos t s uit able work met hods and arrangement t o eliminat e
or minimis e ris ks , for example:excavat ing plant - when quant it ies are large, it
may be product ive t o us e different t ypes of plant for t he various mat erials t o
be excavat eds t ockpiling arrangement s - anot her s it e may need t o be found for
t emporary s t ockpiling of mat erials mat erial placement - t he met hods and plant
us ed for excavat ing, t rans port ing and compact ing t he mat erial s hould be
evaluat eddewat ering equipment , if required, and t he s ys t em t o be us ed, and
t rans port of t he excavat ed mat erial - t he t ype of plant us ed, t he lengt h of
haul, t he nat ure of t he haul rout e, and t he condit ions of t ipping and/or
s preading are fact ors t o cons ider.Cont rolling t he ris ks The hierarchy of ris k
cont rolThe ways of cont rolling ris ks are ranked from t he highes t level of
prot ect ion and reliabilit y t o t he lowes t . This ranking is known as t he hierarchy
of ris k cont rol. You mus t always aim t o eliminat e a hazard, which is t he mos t
effect ive cont rol. If t his is not reas onably pract icable, you mus t minimis e t he
ris k by: Subs t it ut ion for example, us e an excavat or wit h a rock breaker rat her
t han manual met hod Is olat ion for example, us e concret e barriers t o s eparat e
pedes t rians and powered mobile plant t o reduce t he ris k of collis ionEngineering
for example benching, bat t ering or s horing t he s ides of t he excavat ion t o
reduce t he ris k of ground collaps e.If ris k remains , it mus t be minimis ed by
implement ing adminis t rat ive cont rols , s o far as is reas onably pract icable, for
example ins t all warning s igns near t he excavat ion. Any remaining ris k mus t be
minimis ed wit h s uit able pers onal prot ect ive equipment , s uch as providing workers
wit h hard hat s , hearing prot ect ors and high vis ibilit y ves t s .Adminis t rat ive
cont rol meas ures and pers onal prot ect ive equipment rely on human behaviour and
s upervis ion, and us ed on t heir own, t end t o be leas t effect ive in minimis ing
ris ks .Training, informat ion, ins t ruct ion and s upervis ionA pers on conduct ing a

bus ines s or undert aking mus t provide any informat ion, ins t ruct ion t raining or
s upervis ion neces s ary t o prot ect all pers ons from ris ks t o t heir healt h and
s afet y aris ing from work carried out .A pers on conduct ing a bus ines s or
undert aking mus t not direct or allow a worker t o carry out cons t ruct ion work
unles s t he worker has s ucces s fully complet ed general cons t ruct ion induct ion
t raining. Training s pecific t o t he excavat ion work and t o t he s it e s hould als o
be provided t o workers , including:t he nat ure of t he hazards and ris ks how t he
work is t o be carried out s afely, including t he cont ent s of t he SWMSinformat ion
about underground and overhead es s ent ial s ervices s it e emergency plans . A
compet ent pers on s hould s upervis e t he excavat ion work. Workers in a s upervis ory
role (for example, leading hand or foreman) s hould be experienced in excavat ion
work and aut horis ed t o ens ure t he work is carried out in accordance wit h SWMS.
Furt her informat ion is available in Chapt er 8 of t he [draft ] Code of Pract ice:
Managing Ris ks in Cons t ruct ion Work.Reviewing ris k cont rol meas ures All cont rol
meas ures t hat have been implement ed, for example ground s upport s ys t ems and fall
prevent ion devices , s hould be reviewed regularly t o make s ure t hat t hey remain
effect ive. There are cert ain s it uat ions where you mus t review your cont rol
meas ures under t he WHS Regulat ions and, if neces s ary, revis e t hem. A review is
required:when t he cont rol meas ure is not effect ive in cont rolling t he ris kbefore
a change at t he workplace t hat is likely t o give ris e t o a new or different
healt h and s afet y ris k t hat t he cont rol meas ure may not effect ively cont rolif a
new hazard or ris k is ident ifiedif t he res ult s of cons ult at ion indicat e t hat a
review is neces s ary, orif a healt h and s afet y repres ent at ive reques t s a review.
Common review met hods include workplace ins pect ion, cons ult at ion, t es t ing and
analys ing records and dat a. When reviewing cont rol meas ures , SWMS and t he WHS
Management Plan mus t als o be reviewed and revis ed where neces s ary.

PLANNING THE EXCAVATION WORK Excavat ion work s hould be carefully planned before
work s t art s t o ens ure it can be carried out s afely. Planning involves
ident ifying hazards , as s es s ing ris ks and det ermining appropriat e cont rol
meas ures in cons ult at ion wit h all relevant pers ons involved in t he work,
including t he principal cont ract or, excavat ion cont ract or, des igners and mobile
plant operat ors . St ruct ural or geot echnical engineers may als o need t o be
cons ult ed at t his s t age.Cons ult at ion s hould include dis cus s ions on t he:nat ure
and/or condit ion of t he ground and/or working environment nat ure of t he work and
ot her act ivit ies t hat may affect s afet ys t at ic and dynamic loads near t he
excavat ion int eract ion wit h ot her t rades s it e acces s s afe work met hod s t at ement s
management of s urrounding vehicular t raffic and ground vibrat iont ype of
equipment us ed for excavat ion workpublic s afet yprovis ion of adequat e amenit ies
procedures t o deal wit h emergencies .Principal cont ract orWhere t he value of
cons t ruct ion work exceeds $250 000, t he cons t ruct ion work is cons idered a
cons t ruct ion project and a principal cont ract or mus t be ident ified. There can
only be one principal cont ract or for a cons t ruct ion project and t his will be
eit her t he pers on commis s ioning t he cons t ruct ion work or a pers on conduct ing a
bus ines s or undert aking t hat is appoint ed as t he principal cont ract or by t he
pers on commis s ioning t he cons t ruct ion work. The principal cont ract or has a range
of dut ies in relat ion t o a cons t ruct ion project , including:preparing and
reviewing a WHS management planobt aining SWMS before any high ris k cons t ruct ion
work commences put t ing in place arrangement s t o manage t he work environment ,
including falls , facilit ies , firs t aid, an emergency plan and t raffic management
ins t alling s igns s howing t he principal cont act ors name, cont act det ails and
locat ion of any s it e office, and s ecuring t he cons t ruct ion workplace.It is
pos s ible t hat t he excavat ion cont ract or may be t he principal cont ract or. This
might occur, for example, where t here is s ignificant excavat ion work required
and t here is a clear s eparat ion bet ween t he excavat ion act ivit y and any
s ubs equent building work. In t his cas e t he excavat ion cont ract or, as t he
principal cont ract or, mus t comply wit h all t he dut ies of a principal cont ract or.
Furt her guidance on principal cont ract or dut ies is available in t he [draft ] Code
of Pract ice: Managing Ris ks in Cons t ruct ion Work.Des igners Des igners mus t ens ure,
s o far as reas onably pract icable, t hat t he s t ruct ure is des igned t o be wit hout
ris ks t o t he s afet y of pers ons who cons t ruct t he s t ruct ure at a workplace.The
des igner of a s t ruct ure or any part of a s t ruct ure t hat is t o be cons t ruct ed
mus t give t he pers on conduct ing a bus ines s or undert aking who commis s ioned t he
des ign a writ t en report t hat s pecifies t he hazards as s ociat ed wit h t he des ign of
t he s t ruct ure t hat , s o far as t he des igner is reas onably aware:(a)
creat e a
ris k t o t he healt h or s afet y of pers ons who are t o carry out cons t ruct ion work
on t he s t ruct ure or part ; and(b)
are as s ociat ed only wit h t he part icular
des ign and not wit h ot her des igns of t he s ame t ype of s t ruct ure.Des igners of
s t ruct ures s hould cons ider pos s ible excavat ion work met hods and healt h and
s afet y ris k cont rols when producing any final des ign document s and t he s afet y
report for t he s t ruct ure.A pers on conduct ing a bus ines s or undert aking t hat
commis s ions cons t ruct ion work mus t cons ult wit h t he des igner of t he whole or any
part of t he s t ruct ure about eliminat ing and cont rolling ris ks . If t he pers on
t hat commis s ions t he work did not commis s ion t he des ign of t he cons t ruct ion
project , t hey mus t t ake all reas onable s t eps t o obt ain t he des igners s afet y
report .Where t here is a principal cont ract or, t he pers on conduct ing a bus ines s
or undert aking t hat commis s ioned t he cons t ruct ion work mus t give t he principal
cont ract or any informat ion t hey have about t he hazards and ris ks in t he vicinit y
of t he workplace.Technical s t andards Excavat ions and any s upport s s hould be
des igned in accordance wit h accept able engineering principles and publis hed
t echnical s t andards . Engineering principles would include, for example,
mat hemat ical or s cient ific procedures out lined in an engineering reference
manual or s t andard. Preparing Safe Work Met hod St at ement s If t he excavat ion work
involves high ris k cons t ruct ion work, t he excavat ion cont ract or mus t prepare a
SWMS before t he high ris k cons t ruct ion work s t art s . The SWMS mus t :ident ify t he
t ype of high ris k cons t ruct ion work being dones pecify t he healt h and s afet y
hazards and ris ks aris ing from t hat workdes cribe how t he ris ks will be
cont rolled, anddes cribe how t he ris k cont rol meas ures will be implement ed,
monit ored and reviewed.One SWMS can be prepared t o cover all t he high ris k
cons t ruct ion work being carried out at t he workplace by a cont ract or and/or
s ubcont ract or. For example, excavat ion work might involve a number of t ypes of

high ris k cons t ruct ion work, s uch as :a ris k of a pers on falling more t han 2
met res , anda t rench wit h an excavat ed dept h great er t han 1.5 met res .Adjacent
buildings or s t ruct ures Excavat ion work which is likely t o reduce t he s ecurit y or
s t abilit y of any part of a s t ruct ure mus t not commence or cont inue unles s
adequat e s t eps are t aken before and during t he progres s of t he work t o prevent
t he collaps e or part ial collaps e of a s t ruct ure.Unles s t he excavat ion is in
s t able rock, as det ermined by a compet ent pers on, any excavat ion t hat is below
t he level of t he foot ing of any s t ruct ure or ret aining wall t hat could affect
t he s t abilit y of t he s t ruct ure mus t be s ecured by a s uit able ground s upport
s ys t em. Suit able s upport s for t he s t ruct ure may als o be required.It is als o
import ant t hat ot her buildings are not advers ely affect ed by vibrat ion or
concus s ion during t he excavat ion work. Special precaut ions may need t o be t aken
in t he vicinit y of hos pit als and ot her buildings cont aining equipment s ens it ive
t o s hock and vibrat ion. Excavat ion work mus t be carried out in a way t hat does
not caus e flooding or wat er penet rat ion t o any adjacent building. Es s ent ial
s ervices Es s ent ial s ervices include t he s upply of, gas , wat er, s ewerage,
t elecommunicat ions , elect ricit y, chemicals , fuel and refrigerant in pipes or
lines . The principal cont ract or mus t manage t he ris ks as s ociat ed wit h es s ent ial
s ervices at t he workplace.Specific ris k cont rol meas ures mus t be implement ed
before us ing excavat ors or ot her eart hmoving machinery near overhead elect ric
lines . The relevant aut horit y s hould be cons ult ed regarding approach dis t ances
and appropriat e ris k cont rols implement ed t o prevent any part of t he plant or
any load carried on it from coming t oo clos e or cont act ing overhead elect ric
lines . Underground es s ent ial s ervices The WHS Regulat ions require t hat a pers on
wit h management of cont rol who propos es t o carry out excavat ion work mus t ,
before direct ing or allowing work t o commence, t ake all reas onable s t eps t o
obt ain current underground es s ent ial s ervices informat ion about t he areas at t he
workplace where t he excavat ion work is t o be carried out and adjacent areas and
have regard for t hat informat ion.Wherever s ervices plans are available t hey
s hould be obt ained eit her by t he principal cont ract or or t he excavat ion
cont ract or. Whoever obt ains t hem s hould make s ure t hat copies are provided t o
t he ot her part y as well as any s ubcont ract ors and plant operat ors carrying out
t he excavat ion work s o t he informat ion is cons idered when planning all work in
t he area.The underground es s ent ial s ervices informat ion mus t be:made available
t o any worker, principal cont ract or and s ubcont ract ors readily available for
ins pect ion under t he WHS Act , andret ained unt il t he excavat ion work is complet ed
or, if t here is a not ifiable incident relat ing t o t he excavat ion work, 2 years
aft er t he incident occurs .The available informat ion about exis t ing underground
es s ent ial s ervices may not be accurat e. Therefore it is import ant t hat
excavat ion met hods include an init ial examinat ion of t he area t o be excavat ed,
for example s ampling t he area by way of pot holing.#Figure 1: Underground
es s ent ial s ervices Furt her guidance on underground es s ent ial s ervices and how t o
locat e t hem is available in t he [draft ] Code of Pract ice: Managing Ris ks in
Cons t ruct ion Work.Securing t he work areaA pers on conduct ing a bus ines s or
undert aking who propos es t o excavat e a t rench at leas t 1.5m deep, mus t ens ure,
s o far as is reas onably pract icable, t hat t he work area is s ecured from
unaut horis ed acces s (including inadvert ent ent ry).In s ecuring t he t rench, you
mus t cons ider:ris ks t o healt h and s afet y aris ing from unaut horis ed acces s t o t he
work area, andt he likelihood of unaut horis ed acces s occurring.This requirement
aims t o prot ect ot her workers on s it e who may be at ris k by res t rict ing acces s
t o t he excavat ion area. It applies in addit ion t o t he dut y t hat t he pers on wit h
management or cont rol of t he cons t ruct ion s it e has t o ens ure, s o far as is
reas onably pract icable, t hat t he s it e is s ecured from unaut horis ed acces s from
members of t he public, for example when t he s it e is near s chools , parks , s hops
or ot her public places .Emergency planThe excavat ion cont ract or mus t develop an
emergency plan t o deal wit h unexpect ed incident s , s uch as ground s lip, flooding,
gas leaks and t he res cue of workers from an excavat ion. This plan s hould be
incorporat ed as part of t he broader cons t ruct ion project emergency plan prepared
by t he principal cont ract or, t o ens ure t hat t here is a co-ordinat ed approach t o
res ponding in an emergency.

EXCAVATION WORK AND METHODSThe nat ure of t he excavat ion work being undert aken
will affect t he s elect ion of an excavat ion met hod and a s afe s ys t em of work.
Careful cons iderat ion s hould be given t o healt h and s afet y is s ues when planning
t he work where t he excavat ion involves anyt hing ot her t han s hallow t renching and
s mall quant it ies of mat erial.TrenchingA pers on conduct ing a bus ines s or
undert aking who propos es t o excavat e a t rench at leas t 1.5m deep, mus t minimis e
t he ris k t o any pers on aris ing from t he collaps e of t he t rench by ens uring t hat
all s ides of t he t rench are adequat ely s upport ed by one or more of t he
following:(a) s horing by s hielding or ot her comparable means (b) benching(c)
bat t ering.A combinat ion of t hes e ris k cont rols may be mos t effect ive depending
on t he work environment and charact eris t ics of t he excavat ed mat erial. In
s t reet s or in built up areas , t he excavat ion may have t o be fully or part ly
s heet ed t o prevent part ial or full collaps e due t o localis ed vehicle movement .
Where a worker ent ers a t rench and t here is a ris k of engulfment , t hes e ris k
cont rols s hould be implement ed no mat t er how deep t he t rench.A geot echnical
engineers report may be required t o provide informat ion on t he s t abilit y and
s afet y of a t rench excavat ion. The report s hould include det ails of t he s oil
condit ions , any s horing or t rench s upport requirement s , dewat ering requirement s
and any longer t erm effect s on s t abilit y and s afet y of t he excavat ion. An
engineer or ot her s uit ably compet ent pers on s hould des ign any s upport s ys t ems or
be involved in t he s elect ion of ot her ground collaps e ris k cont rols , s uch as
t rench s hields (s ee als o Chapt er 5 of t his Code). Shoring, benching and/or
bat t ering may not be required if writ t en advice is received from a geot echnical
engineer t hat all s ides of t he t rench are s afe from collaps e. Any s uch advice
mus t s t at e t he period of t ime t o which it applies and may be s ubject t o a
condit ion t hat s pecified nat ural occurrences may creat e a ris k of collaps e.
Preparat ion and excavat ionBulldozers , s crapers , excavat ors and ot her t ypes of
eart hmoving equipment are commonly us ed for eit her preparing work areas prior t o
t renching or for t he t renching work it s elfFor s ome t rench excavat ions , manual
work, s uch as t rimming by hand, will be required. Trimming can oft en be
accomplis hed from out s ide t he t rench by s hovelling or pus hing t he mat erial wit h
a long handled t ool or s hovel t o t he bot t om of t he excavat ion where it can be
picked up by t he excavat ion plant . Ris ks as s ociat ed wit h falls and working wit h
powered mobile plant mus t be cont rolled.TunnellingThe nat ure of t unnelling work
is complex and highly s pecialis ed, requiring high levels of engineering
expert is e during t he planning, inves t igat ion, des ign and cons t ruct ion s t ages .
There are als o a range of cons t ruct ion t echniques , ground condit ions and healt h
and s afet y cons iderat ions t hat may impact on ongoing operat ional and maint enance
ris ks . Des ignSafe t unnel cons t ruct ion depends on adequat e pre-cons t ruct ion
engineering inves t igat ion of t he ground and s it e and accurat e int erpret at ion of
t he informat ion obt ained. Des igners s hould:obt ain or be provided wit h all
available relevant informat ionbe advis ed of any gaps in t he informat ion for
planning and cons t ruct ionundert ake or be involved in dat a acquis it ion for t he
s it e inves t igat ion program, andhave on-s it e involvement during t he engineering
inves t igat ion.The informat ion obt ained from t he engineering inves t igat ion and
t he ant icipat ed excavat ion met hods s hould be cons idered in preparing a t unnel
des ign. The des ign s hould include:det ails on t he t unnel dimens ions and allowable
excavat ion t olerances t emporary and final s upport and lining requirement s for
each locat ion wit hin t he t unnel, andany ot her requirement s for t he finis hed
t unnel.The des ign s hould als o include informat ion on t he excavat ion met hods and
ground condit ions cons idered in t he des ign, t o allow t he des ign t o be reviewed
if anot her excavat ion met hod is chos en or t he ground condit ions differ from t hat
expect ed as t he excavat ion proceeds . The des ign als o needs t o t ake int o account
t he cons t ruct ion met hods t hat may be us ed t o cons t ruct t he t unnel s o t hat a s afe
des ign for cons t ruct ion purpos es is achieved.Tunnelling hazards and ris ks Common
hazards and ris ks in t unnel cons t ruct ion generally relat e t o t he confines of
working underground and can include:t unnel s t abilit y rock or eart h falls and
rock burs t s changing ground condit ions s t rat a and s t res s fluct uat ions limit ed
s pace and acces s , wit h pos s ible confined s paces involvedair cont aminat ion or
oxygen deplet ionfire or explos iont he us e of fixed and powered mobile plant and
vehicles t emporary elect rical s upplies and circuit s , including los s of power for
light ing and vent ilat ioncompres s ed air us e and high pres s ure hydraulics large
s cale mat erials and equipment handling overhead s eepage, ground and proces s
wat er uneven and wet or ot her s lippery s urfaces falls of people or object s

cont aminat ed groundwat erground gas and wat er in-rus hnois evibrat ionheat and
humidit y, andhazardous s ubs t ances .Ris k cont rol meas ures can include:ground
s upport , s uch as t unnelling s hields appropriat e fall prot ect ion, s uch as
t emporary work plat forms plant and vehicular t raffic management s ys t ems regular
plant maint enancepumps or dewat ering s ys t ems t o remove ground wat er, and
mechanical vent ilat ion t o cont rol airborne cont aminant s and air
t emperat ure/humidit ydus t ext ract ionplant fit t ed wit h wat er s crubbers plant fit t ed
wit h cat alyt ic convert ers .Us ing ground s upport des igned for t he unique
circums t ances of t he work is es s ent ial t o cont rol t he ris k of a collaps e or
t unnel s upport failure. Tunnelling is us ually carried out us ing s t eel s hields ,
however all excavat ion for t unnelling s hould be s upport ed. Shaft s Shaft s are
oft en cons t ruct ed t o provide acces s or vent ilat ion t o a t unnel. Comparat ively
s hallow s haft s can be s unk for inves t igat ing or cons t ruct ing foundat ions ,
dewat ering or providing openings t o underground facilit ies .Shaft s vary great ly
in des ign and cons t ruct ion t echnique, depending on t heir purpos e and t he local
condit ions , and may be vert ical or inclined, lined or unlined, of various
s hapes , and excavat ed us ing various t echniques . Shaft s inking involves
excavat ing a s haft from t he t op, wit h acces s and s poil removal from t he t op.
Ot her cons t ruct ion met hods include rais e-boring, which is a met hod of
cons t ruct ing a s haft (or rais e) where underground acces s has already been
es t ablis hed. Rais ed bored s haft s can be from t he s urface or from one horizon t o
anot her underground. The met hod can be remot ely execut ed, not requiring people
t o ent er t he s haft .Acces s t o s haft openings s hould be cont rolled, firs t ly by
us ing a s ecure cover t hat is lockable and acces s ible only by compet ent or
aut horis ed pers ons . A s econdary means for cont rolling acces s t o s haft openings
is by us ing a s uit able guard rail and t oe-board wit h gat e for acces s . The s ides
of t he s haft s hould be s upport ed by s t eel frames or s et s of t imber. In s pecial
cas es , s upport can be provided by ins t alling precas t concret e or s t eel liners .
Shaft s us ually have s pecial feat ures s o des ign and cons t ruct ion advice s hould be
obt ained from a compet ent pers on (for example, engineer) before excavat ion and
ins t allat ion. In s ome cas es , s pecial vent ilat ion facilit ies may be required.
Common hazards and ris ks involved in s haft cons t ruct ion can include:s haft
dimens ions limit ing work s pace, pos s ibly including confined s pace workfalls and
falling object s , including fine mat erial and wat er from t he s haft wallhois t ing
equipment (for example, winch, ropes and hooks )hois t ing and winching people,
mat erials , s poil and plant wat er inflow/inrus h and dewat eringairborne
cont aminant s and vent ilat ionconfined s pacemanual t as ks hazardous mat erials fire or
explos ioncommunicat ions , andemergency egres s .Ris k cont rol meas ures can include:
s t abilis ing t he ground at t he head of t he s haft lining t he s haft cont inuous ly
during it s excavat ionproviding appropriat e fall prot ect ion, s uch as t emporary
work plat forms providing and maint aining appropriat e hois t ing equipment ins t alling
dewat ering s ys t ems ins t alling mechanical vent ilat ion t o cont rol airborne
cont aminant s and air t emperat ure/humidit yguiding t he working plat forms and
mat erialavoiding overfilling mat erial kibbles and cleaning kibbles before
lift ingclos ing s haft doors before t ipping, andcleaning t he s pillage off doors ,
s t age and any s t eelwork.Furt her guidance on confined s paces is available in t he
Code of Pract ice: Confined Spaces .

PREVENTING GROUND COLLAPSEGround collaps e is one of t he primary ris ks t o be


cont rolled in excavat ion work. Ground collaps e can occur very quickly and
wit hout warning, giving a worker virt ually no t ime t o es cape, es pecially if t he
collaps e is ext ens ive. A buried worker is likely t o die from s uffocat ion before
help arrives (for example, eit her t he head is buried, or t he ches t is s o
res t rict ed by t he weight of ground t hat t he worker can no longer breat he).Figure
2 s hows a t ypical example of ground failure where mat erial collaps es ont o a
worker pinning t hem agains t t he wall of a t rench. Trench collaps es of t his
nat ure can caus e fat al injuries .#Figure 2: Trench collaps e and as s ociat ed ground
forces When planning t he work and s elect ing appropriat e excavat ion met hods and
ris k cont rols , it is import ant t o cons ider:t he t ype and s t rengt h of t he mat erial
t o be excavat ed (for example, whet her t he ground is nat ural and s elf-s upport ing
or has been previous ly backfilled)t he mois t ure cont ent of t he s oilif t he ground
is level or s lopingif groundwat er is pres ent if t here are any ot her nearby wat er
cours es , drains or run-off t hat might affect t he s t abilit y of t he excavat ed
mat erialt he work area and any acces s or operat ional limit at ions t he planned
height of t he excavat ed faceif vehicular t raffic and/or powered mobile plant
will operat e near t he excavat ionif t here will be ot her cons t ruct ion act ivit y
nearby t hat may caus e vibrat ionany ot her loads adjacent t o t he planned
excavat ion (for example, buildings , t anks , ret aining walls , t rees ), andany
underground es s ent ial s ervices .The ground condit ions will have a s ignificant
impact on t he s elect ion of an excavat ion met hod and ris k cont rols .Ground
condit ions In t heir nat ural condit ion, s oils have varying degrees of cohes ive
s t rengt h and frict ional res is t ance. Examples of mat erials wit h virt ually no
cohes ive s t rengt h are dry s and, s at urat ed s and and gravels wit h minimum clay
cont ent . Ground encount ered in excavat ions can generally be cat egoris ed as one
of t hree main kinds :hard, compact s oils oil liable t o crack or crumble, orloos e
or running mat erial.Of t hes e mat erials , hard compact s oil is t he t ype t hat can
caus e t he mos t t rouble becaus e t he face looks good and t his oft en leads t o
ris ks being t aken. Loos e or running mat erial is oft en t he s afes t , becaus e t he
need for s afet y precaut ions is obvious from t he s t art . Soil liable t o crack or
crumble is doubt ful, and s hould be given careful cons iderat ion before t he
t reat ment t o be given is det ermined. Us eful informat ion can oft en be obt ained by
inquiring from local aut horit ies .Non-cohes ive faces can be very hazardous . Wit h
jus t t he right amount of mois t ure, t hey look, for a s hort t ime, s afe and s olid.
However, very lit t le los s of wat er by evaporat ion can make t he s oil crumble, as
could an increas e in t he wat er cont ent from rain or ot her caus es .The s t abilit y
of any excavat ed face depends on t he s t rengt h of t he s oil in t he face being
great er at all t imes t han t he s t res s es it is s ubject ed t o. The following
s it uat ions all increas e s oil s t res s es in an excavat ed face and may lead t o
pos s ible failure under advers e weat her condit ions , addit ional load or vibrat ion:
deep cut s and s t eep s lopes , by removal of t he nat ural s ide s upport of t he
excavat ed mat erialloads on t he ground s urface near t he t op of t he face, s uch as
excavat ed mat erial, digging equipment or ot her cons t ruct ion plant and mat erial
s hock and vibrat ion, which could be caus ed by pile-driving, blas t ing, pas s ing
loads or vibrat ion producing plant wat er pres s ure from ground wat er flow, which
fills cracks in t he s oil, increas es horizont al s t res s es and t he pos s ibilit y of
undermining, ands at urat ion of s oil, which increas es t he weight and in s ome cas es
t he volume of t he s oil.Soil s t rengt h may be reduced by t he following:exces s
wat er pres s ure in s andy s oil which may caus e boils . It may s at urat e t he s oil and
increas e it s plas t icit ydrynes s of t he s oil, which caus es reduct ion of cohes ion
in s andy s oil and s oils high in organic cont ent which t hen crumble readily
prolonged s t res s , which may caus e plas t ic deformit y (s queezing or flowing), and
prolonged inact ivit y at an excavat ion s it e. Where t his occurs , an evaluat ion of
t he s oil s hould be undert aken before work recommences .There are t hree main t ypes
of ground collaps e ris k cont rol t hat can be us ed where ground collaps e may
occur:benching and bat t eringpos it ive ground s upport - or s horing, ands hielding
s hields do not ens ure ground s t abilit y but t hey prot ect workers ins ide t he
s hield from ground collaps e by prevent ing t he collaps ing mat erial from falling
ont o workers .Benching and bat t eringOne fairly s imple way of cont rolling t he ris k
of ground collaps e is t o bench or bat t er t he excavat ion walls . An excavat ed
s lope is s afe when t he ground is s t able. That is , t he s lope does not flat t en
when left for a cons iderable period, t here is no movement of mat erial down t he
s lope and t he t oe of t he s lope remains in t he s ame place.If excavat ion work is

planned t o be carried out wit hout pos it ive ground s upport (t hat is , s horing),
t he cont inuing s afet y of t he excavat ion will depend on t he condit ions aris ing
during cons t ruct ion. If t he condit ions during cons t ruct ion are not as expect ed,
or if condit ions change during t he cours e of t he work (for example, different
s oils ; heavy rain/flooding) act ion s hould be t aken immediat ely t o prot ect
workers , ot her pers ons and propert y and t o implement appropriat e ris k cont rols .
This may be as s imple as t emporarily s us pending work unt il t he ground is s t able
or new ris k cont rols s uch as pos it ive ground s upport may be required.Benching is
t he creat ion of a s eries of s t eps in t he vert ical wall of an excavat ion t o
reduce t he wall height and ens ure s t abilit y (s ee Figure 3a). Benching is a
met hod of prevent ing collaps e by excavat ing t he s ides of an excavat ion t o form
one or more horizont al levels or s t eps , wit h vert ical s urfaces bet ween levels .
Bat t ering is where t he wall of an excavat ion is s loped back t o a predet ermined
angle t o ens ure s t abilit y (s ee Figure 3b). Bat t ering prevent s ground collaps e by
cut t ing t he excavat ed face back t o a s afe s lope. Bat t ering s hould commence from
t he bot t om of t he excavat ion and in s ome circums t ances it may be appropriat e t o
us e a combinat ion of t he t wo met hods on an excavat ion (s ee Figure 4).#Figure 3a:
Benching
Figure 3b: Bat t ering#Figure 4: Combinat ion of
benching and bat t ering cont rols Bot h benching and bat t ering of excavat ion walls
are met hods which minimis e t he ris k of t he s oil or rock s lipping ont o t he
excavat ion. The des ign of benching or bat t ering ris k cont rols s hould be
developed by a compet ent pers on (for example, geot echnical engineer) relat ive t o
t he s oil t ype, t he mois t ure cont ent of t he s oil, t he planned height of t he
excavat ed face and any s urcharge loads act ing on t he excavat ed face. It is not
neces s ary t o bench or bat t er t he face of excavat ions which a compet ent pers on
(for example, geot echnical engineer) det ermines are in s t able rock or has
as s es s ed t hat t here is no ris k of collaps e. When benching or bat t ering t he walls
of an excavat ion, an angle of repos e of 45 degrees s hould not be exceeded unles s
s o des igned by a compet ent pers on s uch as a geot echnical engineer and cert ified
in writ ing.Benches s hould be wide enough t o s t abilis e t he s lopes and t o prevent
mat erial from t he t op of t he s lopes falling down t o t he working area. They
s hould be s loped t o reduce t he pos s ibilit y of wat er s couring.During excavat ion
planning, t he des ign of face s lopes and widt hs of benches s hould als o t ake int o
cons iderat ion t he s ize and t ype of any eart hmoving machinery t o be us ed and any
relat ed haul rout es . ShoringShoring is a pos it ive ground s upport s ys t em t hat can
be us ed when t he locat ion or dept h of an excavat ion makes bat t ering and/or
benching impract icable. It s hould always be des igned for t he s pecific workplace
condit ions by a compet ent pers on, for example, an engineer.Shoring is t he
provis ion of s upport for excavat ed face(s ) t o prevent t he movement of s oil and
t herefore ground collaps e. It is a common met hod of ground s upport in t rench
excavat ion where uns t able ground condit ions , s uch as in s oft ground or ground
liable t o be wet during excavat ion s uch as s and, s ilt or s oft mois t clay are
oft en encount ered.Where ground is not s elf-s upport ing and benching or bat t ering
are not pract ical or effect ive ris k cont rols , s horing s hould be us ed when t here
is a ris k of t he eart h, rock or ot her mat erial forming t he s ide of or adjacent
t o any excavat ion work being dis lodged or falling and burying, t rapping or
s t riking a pers on in t he excavat ion.Where s uch a ris k als o exis t s for t hos e
ins t alling s horing, ot her appropriat e ris k cont rol meas ures mus t be in place t o
ens ure t he healt h and s afet y of pers ons ent ering t he excavat ion. Shoring t he
face of an excavat ion s hould proceed as t he work of excavat ion progres s es . Where
eart hmoving machinery is us ed, t he ris k as s es s ment s hould be us ed t o det ermine
whet her any part of t he t rench may be left uns upport ed.The s ys t em of work
included in t he SWMS s hould ens ure workers do not ent er any part of t he
excavat ion t hat is not prot ect ed and s hould not work ahead of t he s horing
prot ect ion if it is being progres s ively ins t alled.The bas ic t ypes of s horing are
hydraulically operat ed met al s horing and t imber s horing. The mos t common s horing
us ed cons is t s of hydraulic jacks and s t eel s t rut s , walls and s heet ing. Somet imes
aluminium or t imber component s are us ed. The us e of met al s horing has largely
replaced t imber s horing becaus e of it s abilit y t o ens ure even dis t ribut ion of
pres s ure along a t rench line and it is eas ily adapt ed t o various dept hs and
t rench widt hs .Some of t he common t ypes of s horing are:hydraulic s ys t ems s t eel
s heet pilings t eel t rench s heet ingt imber s ys t ems (for example, s oldier s et s )
precas t concret e
panels ground anchors , andcais s ons .Hydraulic s ys t ems Hydraulic s upport s ys t ems

are commonly us ed t o provide t emporary or mobile ground s upport while ot her


ground s upport s are being ins t alled (s ee Figure 5).Ground pres s ures s hould be
cons idered prior t o ins t allat ion of hydraulic s upport s . The hydraulic s upport
s ys t em s hould be des igned by an appropriat ely qualified pers on in cons ult at ion
wit h t he geot echnical engineer. The hydraulic capacit y of t he t emporary ground
s upport s ys t em mus t be des igned t o res is t t he expect ed ground pres s ures and
pot ent ial for collaps e.Hydraulic s upport s ys t ems may become unreliable if not
properly maint ained and properly us ed. Frequent ins pect ions of pres s ure hos es
and rams are neces s ary t o det ect abras ion, fat igue or damage, s uch as bent or
not ched rams . When a t rench has been fully s upport ed, t he hydraulic s upport
s ys t ems s hould be dis mant led t o prevent cos t ly damage. The hydraulic s upport s
s hould be ins pect ed, repaired if neces s ary, and carefully s t ored prior t o reus e. Furt her informat ion on hydraulic s horing can be found in AS 5047: Hydraulic
s horing and t rench lining equipment . #Figure 5: Hydraulic s horing (s oldier s et
s t yle)St eel s heet pilingSt eel s heet piling is generally us ed on major
excavat ions s uch as large building foundat ions or where large embankment s are t o
be held back and can be ins t alled prior t o excavat ion work commencing. It is
als o us ed where an excavat ion is in clos e proximit y t o adjoining buildings (s ee
Figure 6).Sheet piling may be us ed when ground is s o uns t able t hat s ide wall
collaps e would be likely during excavat ion, for example, in loos e and running
s and. In s uch cas es , s heet piling s hould be ins t alled before excavat ion
commences .#Figure 6: St eel s heet piling [not e delet e dimens ions ]St eel t rench
s heet ingOt her met hods of excavat ion may require t he us e of s t eel t rench s heet ing
or s horing. It is pos it ioned and pneumat ically driven in t o final dept h. Toms
and walings are placed int o pos it ion as t he s oil is excavat ed. Timber can be
us ed, but generally, it is found more efficient t o us e adjus t able jacks or
s t rut s , as s hown in Figure 7.St eel t rench s heet ing is light er in weight t han
normal s heet piling and in s ome circums t ances may be driven by hand-held
pneumat ic hammers or elect rically operat ed vibrat ing hammers . The pot ent ial for
manual handling injuries t o occur in t his operat ion is very high, as is t he ris k
of lacerat ions due t o s harp met al prot rus ions . Thes e ris ks s hould be addres s ed
prior t o commencement of driving t he s t eel s heet . Any project ions on t he
unders ide of t he anvil of jack hammers s hould be removed t o prevent damage t o
t he driving cap and pot ent ial injury t o t he operat or.During driving operat ions ,
workers may be expos ed t o nois e levels in exces s of t he expos ure s t andard and a
met hod of cont rolling t he nois e expos ure will be required. St eel s horing and
t rench lining equipment s hould be des igned by a compet ent pers on. Furt her
informat ion on s t eel s horing can be found in AS 4744.1: St eel s horing and t rench
lining Des ign.#Figure 7: St eel t rench s heet ing and jacks Timber s oldier s et s The
s oldier s et is a s imple form of t rench s upport s et which can be formed wit h
s t eel or t imber. This s ys t em is mos t ly us ed in rock, s t iff clays and in ot her
s oil t ypes wit h s imilar s elf-s upport ing propert ies . Unlike clos ed s heet ing s et s ,
s oldier s et s ret ain t he eart h where t here may be a fault in t he embankment .
Soldier s et s only provide ground s upport at regular int ervals and do not provide
pos it ive ground s upport t o t he whole excavat ed face. Open s oldier s et s are only
s uit able for us e in s t able s oil t ypes .#Figure 8: Timber s oldier s et s Clos ed
s heet ingClos ed s heet ing is where vert ical t imber or met al members are us ed t o
fully cover and s upport a t rench wall and which are in t urn s upport ed by ot her
members of a ground s upport s ys t em.#Figure 9: Example of clos ed s heet ingSide
lacing is a form of clos ed s heet ing us ed primarily t o ens ure worker s afet y by
prevent ing s oil from s lipping by t he placement of fill behind t imber boards or
s t eel plat es (s ee Figure 10). Side lacing is us ed in all t ypes of ground, and is
part icularly us eful where long or large diamet er pipes are t o be ins t alled and
in variable ground condit ions where s t eel or t imber s upport s are difficult t o
ins t all. Side lacing s hould be firmly wedged int o t he ground t o prevent it from
moving when fill is placed agains t it .When clos ed s heet ing or s ide lacing is
us ed t o prevent ground collaps e, workers s hould not :ent er t he excavat ion prior
t o t he ins t allat ion of t he s heet ing/lacingwork ins ide a t rench, out s ide t he
prot ect ion of s heet ing/lacingent er t he excavat ion aft er s heet ing/lacing has been
removed, orent er an area where t here is s heet ing/lacing, ot her t han by a ladder.
#Figure 10: Side lacing in s and t rench [not e delet e dimens ions ]Ground anchors A
ground anchor is a t ie back t o t he s oil behind t he face requiring s upport and is
t ypically us ed wit h s t eel s heet piling (s ee Figure 11). Ground anchors may be
ins t alled in eit her granular or clay s oils . The des ign of ground anchors s hould

be carried out by a compet ent pers on, for example, a geot echnical engineer. In
granular s oil, t he anchorage zone is us ually a plug of grout locat ed behind t he
act ive s oil limit line. This plug res is t s t he t ens ion force induced in t he
s t res s ing cables , due t o t he s hear and cohes ion forces developed along it s
lengt h.Thes e forces can be due, in part , t o t he overburden. Removal of s oil
above ins t alled ground anchors s hould only be carried out aft er approval has
been received from a compet ent pers on, for example, a geot echnical engineer.#
Figure 11: Ground anchors for s upport ing s t eel s heet pilingIt is pos s ible t hat
removal of t he s oil bet ween t he ret aining wall and t he act ive s oil limit line
may caus e t he s heet piling t o bend. This bending will releas e t he load in t he
s t res s ing cable, and hence render t he ground anchor us eles s and dangerous t o
workers wit hin t he excavat ion. On replacement of t he s oil, t he ground anchor may
not develop it s original load carrying capacit y; als o t he anchorage of t he
s t res s ing cable at t he face of t he s heet piling may be dis lodged or loos ened t his depends on t he t ype of s t res s ing cable and t he res pect ive anchoring
s ys t ems . While t he ground anchoring s ys t em is operat ive, periodic checks wit h
hydraulic jacks and pres s ure gauges are us ed t o as s es s anchor behaviour over
long periods .Removal of s horing s upport s When removing s horing, t he s upport
s ys t em s hould be ext ract ed/dis mant led in t he revers e order of it s ins t allat ion.
Pers ons performing t he work in t he excavat ion s hould not work out s ide t he
prot ect ion of t he ground s upport s ys t em. No part of a ground s upport s ys t em
s hould be removed unt il t he t rench is ready for final backfill and compact ion.
Shoring and all s upport s ys t ems s hould be removed in a manner t hat prot ect s
workers from ground collaps e, s t ruct ural collaps e or being s t ruck by s t ruct ural
members . Before removal begins , it may be neces s ary t o ins t all ot her t emporary
s t ruct ural members t o ens ure worker s afet y.Shields and boxes A s hield is a
s t ruct ure, us ually manufact ured from s t eel, which is able t o wit hs t and t he
forces impos ed by a ground collaps e and prot ect workers wit hin it . Shields can
be permanent ly ins t alled or port able and des igned t o move along as work
progres s es . Many different s hield s ys t em configurat ions are available for hire
or purchas e. Figure 12 s hows a t ypical t rench s hield.#Figure 12: Typical t rench
s hieldShields and boxes us ed in t renches are oft en referred t o as t rench s hields
or t rench boxes , and are des igned and cons t ruct ed t o wit hs t and t he eart h
pres s ures of part icular t rench dept hs and ground t ypes . They incorporat e
s pecific lift ing point s for ins t allat ion and removal.Trench s hields and boxes
differ from s horing in t hat s horing is des igned t o prevent collaps e where
s hielding and boxes are only des igned t o prot ect workers if a collaps e occurs .
Trench s hields and boxes are us eful where ot her forms of s upport are not
reas onably pract icable t o ins t all. They are mainly us ed in open areas where
acces s is available for an excavat or or backhoe t o lower and rais e t he boxes or
s hields int o and out of a t rench. They are generally not s uit able where acces s
is difficult and ground condit ions prevent t he us e of lift ing equipment .St eel
boxes for t rench work can be of light or heavy dut y cons t ruct ion, depending on
t he dept h of t he t rench. Trench s hields and boxes s hould be des igned by a
compet ent pers on, for example, an engineer, and can be pre-manufact ured t o job
s pecific dimens ions . Us ed correct ly, s hields and boxes can provide a s afe work
s pace for workers who need t o ent er an excavat ion. However, t rench s hields and
boxes s hould be adequat ely maint ained or t hey may fail unexpect edly,
part icularly if t hey have been abus ed or mis us ed. The manufact urers
ins t ruct ions for t he ins t allat ion, us e, removal and maint enance of s hields and
boxes s hould always be followed. Trench boxes s hould not be s ubject ed t o loads
exceeding t hos e which t he s ys t em was des igned t o wit hs t and. Eart h pres s ures are
reduced when correct benching and bat t ering pract ices are us ed.Shields and boxes
s hould be s t ored and t rans port ed in accordance wit h t he manufact urers
ins t ruct ions . In s ome s it uat ions , heavy dut y equipment may require dis as s embly
for t rans port .Boxes s hould be regularly ins pect ed for damage. They s hould not be
alt ered or modified wit hout t he approval of a compet ent pers on.Ot her ground
s upport met hods Support t o t he face of an excavat ion can s omet imes be effect ively
provided by t he us e of chemical s t abilis at ion t echniques which involve inject ion
under pres s ure of chemical s olut ions which bind and s olidify s oil. This met hod
of s t abilis at ion is only pos s ible in porous s oils and is expens ive. However,
under cert ain circums t ances
where s pace limit at ions are a major cons iderat ion and it is not feas ible t o cut
t he face of an excavat ion back t o a s afe s lope, chemical inject ion may be

economical.Regular ins pect ionThe condit ion of s oil s urrounding excavat ions can
change quickly due t o t he s oil drying out , changes in t he wat er t able or wat er
s at urat ion of t he s oil. The s oil condit ion and t he s t at e of s horing, bat t ering
and t rench walls s hould be frequent ly checked for s igns of eart h fret t ing,
s lipping, s lumping or ground s welling. Where neces s ary, repair t he excavat ion or
s t rengt hen t he s horing s ys t em from above before allowing work below ground t o
cont inue.

OTHER EXCAVATION WORK RISK S AND CONTROLSExcavat ed mat erial and loads near
excavat ions Mechanical plant , vehicles , s t orage of mat erials (including excavat ed
mat erial) or any ot her heavy loads s hould not be operat ed or locat ed in t he
zone of influence of an excavat ion unles s t he ground s upport s ys t em ins t alled
has been des igned by a compet ent pers on, for example, a geot echnical engineer,
t o carry s uch loads . The zone of influence is det ermined by a compet ent pers on
(for example, a geot echnical engineer) and will depend on t he ground condit ions .
It is t he zone in which t here may be an influence on t he excavat ion, including
pos s ible ground collaps e.#Figure 13a: excavat ion wit h s horing
Figure 13b:
s horing des igned t o carrydes igned t o carry s oil, vehicle and
s oil loads only
mat erial loads Figure 13 s hows an example of:a) an excavat ion wit h s horing t hat
has been des igned t o carry vehicle and mat erial loads t his may be required
where t here is limit ed s pace around t he excavat ion for vehicle movement and /or
mat erial s t orage, andb) an excavat ion wit h s horing t hat has been des igned only
t o carry t he load of t he excavat ed faces and t he relat ed zone of influence.Any
mat erial will add a load t o t he area where it is placed. So it is import ant t hat
mat erials are not placed or s t acked near t he edge of any excavat ion s o as t o put
pers ons working in t he excavat ion at ris k, for example eit her by caus ing a
collaps e of t he s ide of t he excavat ion or from excavat ed mat erial falling int o
t he excavat ion.To reduce t he ris k of ground collaps e, excavat ed or loos e
mat erial s hould be effect ively s t ored or ret ained away from t he excavat ion.
Excavat ed mat erial s hould be placed out s ide t he zone of influence.
Alt ernat ively, a ground s upport s ys t em s hould be des igned and ins t alled t o carry
t he addit ional loads , including any ground wat er pres s ures , s at urat ed s oil
condit ions and s at urat ed mat erials .If excavat ing in s loping ground, you will
need t o decide on which s ide of t he excavat ion t o place t he excavat ed mat erial.
Things t o cons ider include:ground condit ions acces s t o t he excavat ionexis t ing
underground s ervices t he need for eart hmoving machinery or vehicles t o work or
move along bes ide t he excavat ions ervice ins t allat ion and backfilling
requirement s , andany manual work being undert aken in t he excavat ion.Placing
mat erial on t he lower s ide of t he excavat ion will reduce t he effect ive height of
t he excavat ion (s ee Figure 14) and t he ris k of mat erial falling or being was hed
int o t he excavat ion.#Figure 14 excavat ed mat erial impact on effect ive
excavat ion dept hPlacing mat erial on t he higher s ide of t he excavat ion can enable
eas ier backfilling and provide more s t able work areas for eart hmoving machinery
on t he lower s ide. Care s hould be t aken t o ens ure t hat mat erial placed on t he
high s ide of t he excavat ion does not increas e t he ris k of ground collaps e, or
flooding by ponding or holding back runoff wat er. Excavat ed mat erial s hould be
placed s o t hat it channels rainwat er and ot her run-off wat er away from t he
excavat ion. When a t rench is being excavat ed bes ide an old s ervice line, t he
excavat ed mat erial s hould be placed on t he s ide oppos it e t he old s ervice line t o
prevent exces s ive loading on previous ly weakened ground. When it is neces s ary t o
place excavat ed mat erial clos e t o a t rench due t o obs t ruct ions s uch as fences ,
buildings , or t rees , t he weight of t he excavat ed mat erial may overload t he s ides
of a t rench and t he ground s upport s ys t em will need t o be s t rengt hened at t hes e
locat ions . There may als o be a need t o provide barriers , s uch as t oeboards , t o
prevent t he mat erial falling int o t he excavat ion.Different s oils , when dumped in
heaps , will as s ume a charact eris t ic s hape and s et t le nat urally at different
s lopes . The angle which a s loping face of loos e eart h makes wit h t he horizont al
is s omet imes referred t o as t he angle of repos e. However, it is poor pract ice t o
relat e t he s afe s lope of an excavat ion t o t he angle of repos e, even t hough t he
s afe s lope may be s imilar in s ome t ypes of s oil t o t he angle of repos e.Plant and
equipment Excavat ion work cannot be carried out s afely unles s t he plant t o be
us ed is appropriat e for t he work and maint ained in good condit ion. A range of
plant and equipment might be us ed for excavat ion work, including:powered mobile
plant (s ee s ect ion 6.3 below)air compres s ors elect ric generat ors jack hammers
hydraulic jacks oxy-acet ylene (gas cut t ing/welding)s caffoldingladders , andmany
t ypes of handheld plant , including: s hovels , picks , hammers , hydraulic jacks and
pinch/lever bars .You s hould ens ure:plant is us ed and operat ed by a compet ent
pers ons t hat appropriat e guards and prot ect ive devices , including falling object
prot ect ive devices (FOPS) and/or roll-over prot ect ive devices (ROPS), are fit t ed
t hat t he s afe working load is dis played and any load meas urement devices are
operat ing correct ly, andplant is maint ained in accordance wit h t he
manufact urer/s uppliers ins t ruct ions or relevant Aus t ralian St andards .Furt her

general guidance on plant can be found in t he [draft ] Code of Pract ice: Managing
Ris ks of Plant in t he Workplace.Las ers Las ers mus t be des igned, cons t ruct ed and
ins t alled s o t hat no pers on is expos ed t o accident al irradiat ion. Las ers t hat
are capable of producing hazardous diffus e reflect ions or t hat may cons t it ut e a
fire hazard, being las er clas s es 3B and 4, cannot be us ed in cons t ruct ion work.
Any worker operat ing las ers mus t be t rained in t he us e of t he equipment . Furt her
informat ion on t he s afe us e of las ers is available in AS 2397: Safe us e of
las ers in t he building and cons t ruct ion indus t ry.Powered mobile plant A wide
range of powered mobile plant , including eart hmoving machinery, may be us ed for
excavat ion work. To s elect plant t hat is s uit able for t he t as k, you s hould
cons ider:s it e acces s and res t rict ions s it e hazards s uch as overhead powerlines t he
ground condit ions t he t ype and dept h of excavat iont he volume of mat erial t o be
excavat ed and t rans port ed, andwhere t he excavat ed mat erial is t o be locat ed
and/or s t ored. A high ris k work licence is required t o operat e s ome t ypes of
powered mobile plant . However, in mos t cas es eart hmoving machinery does not
require a licens ed operat or if it is being us ed for t he purpos e for which it was
originally des igned.Whenever powered mobile plant is t o be us ed for excavat ion
work, t raffic management arrangement s s hould be implement ed for t he workplace.
Eart hmoving machineryBulldozers and s crapers are oft en us ed t o prepare a work
area for furt her s pecific excavat ion.Bulldozers t ypically excavat e and move
large amount s of mat erial s hort dis t ances . Bulldozers can be equipped wit h
hydraulically operat ed rippers at t he back of t he machine which are capable of
loos ening t he hardes t of s ediment ary rocks . This mat erial may t hen be bulldozed
away. This met hod frequent ly proves more economical t han drilling and blas t ing
s oft er rock.Self-propelled rubber t yred s crapers enable very large quant it ies of
mat erial t o be excavat ed and hauled economically over long dis t ances at
relat ively high s peed. Becaus e of t he large pot ent ial out put and s peeds of
modern s crapers , careful at t ent ion s hould be given t o job layout , haul roads ,
vehicle pat hways and overall t raffic management t o achieve a healt hy and s afe
workplace. Temporary haul roads s hould be well cons t ruct ed and maint ained t o
enable plant operat ors t o complet e t he work s afely.Large eart hmoving machinery
s uch as bulldozers s hould not operat e clos e t o an overhang or a deep excavat ion
as t he weight may collaps e t he s ides . Equipment s hould always approach
embankment s or t renches from acros s t he line of a t rench rat her t han parallel t o
it . Excavat ion work exceeding 1.5 met res deep is t ypically done by excavat ors or
s pecialis ed plant s uch as t unnelling machines and rais e-bores . Mos t of t hes e
t ypes of plant have an element of mobilit y, alt hough t unnelling machines
t ypically have res t rict ed movement .Ot her plant us ed in excavat ion work includes
backhoes , rubber t yred loaders , s kid s t eer loaders (for example, bobcat ), t rench
diggers , graders and t ip t rucks .Blind s pot s Operat ors of powered mobile plant can
oft en have s everely res t rict ed vis ibilit y of ground workers or nearby
pedes t rians , part icularly t hos e clos e t o t he plant . Figure 15 indicat es s ome of
t he blind s pot s for operat ors of t ypical excavat ion equipment .Powered mobile
plant operat ing near ground pers onnel or ot her powered mobile plant s hould be
equipped wit h warning devices (for example, revers ing alarm and a revolving
light ).An effect ive s ys t em of communicat ion bas ed on t wo way acknowledgement
bet ween mobile plant operat ors and ground pers onnel s hould be es t ablis hed before
work commences and relevant pers onnel t rained in t he procedures involved. The
s ys t em s hould s t op ground pers onnel approaching mobile plant unt il t he operat or
has agreed t o t heir reques t . Similarly t he s ys t em s hould s t op operat ors from
moving plant clos er t han a s et dis t ance from ground pers onnel unt il t he operat or
has been advis ed by ground pers onnel t hat t hey are aware of t he propos ed
movement .Mobile plant operat ors and ground workers s hould be made familiar wit h
t he blind s pot s of part icular it ems of plant being us ed. Induct ion t raining
programs s hould emphas is e t he dangers of pers onnel working in clos e proximit y t o
mobile plant , and adequat e s upervis ion s hould be provided. Mobile plant
operat ors and ground workers s hould be provided wit h and required t o wear
reflect oris ed or high-vis ibilit y clot hing. #Figure 15: mobile plant operat or
blind s pot s Operat or prot ect ion Powered mobile plant s hould be equipped wit h
appropriat e combinat ion of operat or prot ect ion devices , for example, enclos ed
cabin and s eat belt s , t o prevent t he eject ion of t he operat or or t he operat or
being s t ruck by falling object s . Any eart hmoving machinery manufact ured,
import ed or originally purchas ed aft er 1 January 1989 s hould have an
appropriat e operat or prot ect ive s t ruct ure fit t ed. Thes e are eit her in t he form

of roll-over prot ect ive s t ruct ures (ROPS) or falling object prot ect ive
s t ruct ures (FOPS).Operat ing near excavat ions Powered mobile plant and vehicles
s hould not operat e or t ravel near t he edge of an excavat ion unles s t he ground
s upport s ys t em ins t alled has been des igned by a compet ent pers on t o carry s uch
loads . Phys ical barriers , s uch as wheel s t oppers , can be one way of res t rict ing
plant movement near an excavat ion (s ee Figure 16).Ins pect ion and maint enance
Regular planned ins pect ion and adequat e maint enance s hould be carried out in
accordance wit h t he manufact urers ins t ruct ions t o ens ure s afe operat ion of
mobile plant us ed on excavat ion work, whet her leas ed, hired or owned. Bot h
mechanical and elect rical t es t ing s hould be done. The following checks s hould
als o be carried out :daily checks by t he plant operat or on t he general condit ion
and maint enance of t he plant , andregular ins pect ions of t he plant by a compet ent
pers on in accordance wit h t he manufact urer/s uppliers s pecificat ions or relevant
Aus t ralian St andards . Any plant defect s s hould be report ed immediat ely t o t he
pers on res pons ible for maint aining t he plant . Where a defect is likely t o pos e
an immediat e ris k t o healt h and s afet y t he plant s hould be removed from s ervice
unt il t he defect is rect ified.#Figure 16: Prevent ing plant operat ion near
excavat ions Owners of plant and as s ociat ed equipment s hould keep logbooks and
ins pect ion check s heet s cont aining a full s ervice and repair his t ory. Thes e
records s hould be maint ained s o as t o include any report ed defect s , kept current
and ret ained for t he life of t he plant . If t he plant is s old, t he records s hould
form part of t he document at ion forwarded upon t he s ale.Falls A pers on conduct ing
a bus ines s or undert aking mus t manage t he ris k of a fall from one level t o
anot her t hat is reas onably likely t o caus e injury t o t he pers on or anot her
pers on. In managing t he ris ks of falls , t he WHS Regulat ions require t he
following s pecific cont rol meas ures t o be implement ed where it is reas onably
pract icable t o do s o:eliminat e t he need t o work at height s by performing work at
ground level carry out t he work on s olid cons t ruct ion t hat includes a s afe means
of acces s and egres s minimis e t he ris k of fall by providing and maint aining a
s afe s ys t em of work including:us ing fall prevent ion devices (for example,
t emporary work plat forms and guard rails ) orwork pos it ioning s ys t ems (for
example, indus t rial rope acces s s ys t ems ), orfall arres t s ys t ems s uch as cat ch
plat forms .Cont rol meas ures t o eliminat e or minimis e t he ris ks of workers falling
int o excavat ions include:t he s upport s ys t em it s elf, for example us ing t rench box
ext ens ions or t rench s heet s longer t han t he t rench dept h (s ee Figure 17)
ins t alling guard rails or covers on t rench s hields (s ee Figure 18)ins ert ing
guard rails and t oe boards int o t he ground immediat ely next t o t he s upport ed
excavat ion s ide ins t alling landing plat forms or s caffold t owers ins ide deep
excavat ions s ecuring ladders t o t rench s hields providing clearly defined
pedes t rian det ours , andbackfilling t he excavat ion as work progres s es .#Figure 17:
Ext ending t rench s hields above t he excavat ion##Figure 18: St eel mes h covers over
t rench s hields ##A SWMS mus t be prepared for excavat ion work t hat involves a ris k
of a pers on falling more t han 2 met res .Furt her guidance on cont rolling t he ris k
of falls is available in t he:Code of Pract ice: How t o Prevent Falls at
Workplaces , and[draft ] Code of Pract ice: Managing Ris ks in Cons t ruct ion Work.
Explos ives and blas t ingAny cons t ruct ion work t hat involves t he us e of explos ives
is high ris k cons t ruct ion work and a SWMS mus t be prepared before t his work
commences .All pos s es s ion, s t orage, handling and us e of explos ives mus t be
carried out in compliance wit h t he relevant dangerous s ubs t ances /goods or
explos ives legis lat ion applicable in your s t at e or t errit ory.The t rans port of
explos ives mus t be in accordance wit h t he Aus t ralian Code for t he Trans port of
Explos ives by Road and Rail.Explos ives can only be us ed by a compet ent pers on
who is licens ed in t he us e of explos ives and has experience in t he work t o be
undert aken. If explos ives are us ed in excavat ion work, a licens ed s hot firer
mus t be engaged t o undert ake t he work, develop t he blas t management plan and be
res pons ible for all as pect s of t he us e of explos ives in t he excavat ion.The
hazards t o be cons idered in t he as s es s ment and cont rol of ris ks include:s t orage,
t rans port and us e of explos ives ground s upport requirement s ground vibrat ions ,
overpres s ures from blas t ing and fly rockdrilling of faces firing t imes and
prevent ing acces s t o firing areas , andclearance of blas t ing fumes and dus t .Any
preparat ory drilling act ivit y will involve ris ks of manual t as k injury, but t he
us e of hand drills will creat e addit ional manual t as k hazards which s hould be
cons idered when planning excavat ion operat ions . The us e of hand drilling
equipment will als o involve a ris k of vibrat ion injuries occurring, which s hould

be as s es s ed and cont rolled.Blas t ing s hould be us ed on a very limit ed s cale in


built up areas . Adequat e warning s igns s hould be dis played and cont rols
implement ed t o prevent mat erial becoming airborne, s uch as us ing pegged or
weight ed blas t ing mat s or s imilar aids . Public vehicle and pedes t rian t raffic
cont rols are oft en required. Ground vibrat ion s hould be cont rolled by limit ing
blas t s ize and t he us e of delays .At mos pheric condit ions and vent ilat ionThe ris k
of at mos pheric cont aminat ion t hrough a build up of gas es and fumes mus t be
cont rolled in excavat ion work. Gas es and fumes t hat are heavier t han air can
collect in t unnels and excavat ions (for example: gas es , s uch as met hane and
s ulphur dioxide; engine fumes , s uch as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide; and
leakage from gas bot t les , fuel t anks , s ewers , drains , gas pipes and LPG t anks ).
Plant t hat us es a combus t ion engine (for example, air compres s ors ; elect rical
generat ors ) s hould never be us ed in a confined excavat ion s uch as a t rench if
workers are in t he t rench. The build-up of exhaus t gas es in t he excavat ion,
part icularly carbon monoxide, can caus e deat h.Vent ilat ion s ys t ems help t o
maint ain adequat e oxygen levels and dilut e flammable gas es , fumes and cert ain
dus t s , s uch as coal and s ulphide which can ignit e in concent rat ed amount s . The
us e of mechanical vent ilat ion als o reduces dus t , fumes , hazardous cont aminant s
and can cont rol air t emperat ure and humidit y.The vent ilat ion s ys t em s hould be
des igned by a compet ent pers on t o provide adequat e vent ilat ion levels t hroughout
t he excavat ion (e.g. t unnel) during cons t ruct ion. This might include addit ional
localis ed ext ract ion vent ilat ion t o deal wit h t he product ion of dus t , heat or
fumes from t he excavat ion proces s and t he operat ion of large plant or ot her
act ivit ies , s uch as plant maint enance. The des ign s hould allow for t he need t o
ins t all vent ilat ion equipment or duct ing as t he excavat ion progres s es t o
maint ain adequat e air s upply t o t he working face.Ot her met hods of cont rolling
t he ris ks as s ociat ed wit h at mos pheric cont aminat ion include:pre-s t art checks of
at mos pheric condit ions us ing gas monit ors including workers us e of gas monit ors
near t heir airways ens uring adequat e vent ilat ion eit her nat ural or mechanical
working in pairs , wit h one pers on as a s afet y obs erver at t he s urface t o monit or
condit ions us ing PPEens uring familiarit y wit h res cue procedures Manual workManual
excavat ion met hods are us ually us ed for s mall, s hallow excavat ions (for example,
les s t han 1.5 met res deep) in s oft s oils . Pot ent ial hazards #Examples of cont rol
meas ures ##ground collaps e#t he us e of benching or t he ins t allat ion of ground
s upport (for example, s horing) ##wat er inrus h#pumps or ot her dewat ering s ys t ems
t o remove wat er and prevent build-up##falls #ramps , s t eps or ot her appropriat e
acces s int o t he excavat ion##hazardous manual t as ks #rot at ing digging t as ks
bet ween workers ##airborne cont aminant s #mechanical vent ilat ion t o remove airborne
cont aminant s ##buried cont aminant s (e.g. as bes t os ).#t raining t o ident ify buried
cont aminant s and what act ion t o t ake##When working in clos e proximit y, workers
s hould be kept s ufficient ly far apart t o prevent injury from t he us e of picks or
ot her hand t ools . This applies part icularly t o work in t renches and s mall
excavat ions .A pers on conduct ing a bus ines s or undert aking mus t manage t he ris k
of a mus culos kelet al dis order as s ociat ed wit h hazardous manual t as ks .For furt her
guidance on manual t as ks , refer t o t he Code of Pract ice: Hazardous Manual Tas ks .

APPENDIX A DEFINITIONSBarrier#A phys ical s t ruct ure which blocks or impedes


s omet hing.##Barricade#Any object or s t ruct ure t hat creat es a barrier obs t acle t o
cont rol, block pas s age or force t he flow of t raffic in t he des ired direct ion
##Backfill#Mat erial us ed for refilling excavat ions .##Bat t ering#To form t he face
or s ide or wall of an excavat ion t o an angle, us ually les s t han t he nat ural
angle of repos e, t o prevent eart h s lippage.##Bench#A horizont al s t ep cut int o
t he face or s ide or wall of an excavat ion t o provide horizont al bearing and
s liding res is t ance.##Benching#The horizont al s t epping of t he face, s ide, or wall
of an excavat ion.##Cais s on#A wat ert ight s t ruct ure wit hin which cons t ruct ion work
is carried on under wat er##Clos ed s heet ing#A cont inuous frame wit h vert ical or
horizont al s heat hing planks placed s ide by s ide t o form a cont inuous ret aining
wall s upport ed by ot her members of a s upport s ys t em us ed t o hold up t he face of
an excavat ion.##Compet ent pers on#A pers on who has acquired t hrough t raining,
qualificat ion or experience t he knowledge and s kills t o carry out t he t as k.Not e:
for cert ain act ivit ies , s pecific addit ional compet encies are required refer t o
Chapt er 1 of t he WHS Regulat ions .##Eart hmoving machinery#Operat or cont rolled
mobile plant us ed t o excavat e, load, t rans port , compact or s pread eart h,
overburden, rubble, s poil, aggregat e or s imilar mat erial, but does not include a
t ract or or indus t rial lift t ruck.##Es s ent ial s ervices #Services t hat s upply:(a)
gas , wat er, s ewerage, t elecommunicat ions , elect ricit y and s imilar
s ervices ; or(b)
chemicals , fuel and refrigerant in pipes or lines .##Excavat ion
cont ract or#The pers on conduct ing a bus ines s or undert aking t hat has management
or cont rol of t he excavat ion work.##Exclus ion zone#An area from which all
pers ons are excluded during excavat ion work.##Face#An expos ed s loping or
vert ical s urface res ult ing from t he excavat ion of mat erial.##Geot echnical
Engineer#An engineer whos e qualificat ions are accept able for members hip of t he
Ins t it ut ion of Engineers , Aus t ralia and who has qualificat ions and experience in
s oil s t abilit y and mechanics and excavat ion work.##Hois t #An appliance int ended
for rais ing or lowering a load or people, and includes an elevat ing work
plat form, a mas t climbing work plat form, pers onnel and mat erials hois t ,
s caffolding hois t and s erial hois t but does not include a lift or building
maint enance equipment .##Overburden#The s urface s oil t hat mus t be moved
away.##Operat or prot ect ive device#A roll-over prot ect ive s t ruct ure (ROPS),
falling object prot ect ive s t ruct ure (FOPS), operat or res t raining device and s eat
belt .##Powered mobile plant #Plant t hat is provided wit h s ome form of s elfpropuls ion t hat is ordinarily under t he direct cont rol of an operat or.##Safe
s lope#The s t eepes t s lope at which an excavat ed face is s t able agains t s lips and
s lides , having regard t o t he qualit ies of t he mat erial in t he face, t he height
of t he face, t he load above t he face and t he mois t ure condit ions for t he t ime
being exis t ing.##Shaft #A vert ical or inclined way or opening from t he s urface
downwards or from any underground working, t he dimens ions of which (apart from
t he perimet er) are les s t han it s dept h.##Sheet piling#Vert ical, clos e-s paced, or
int erlocking planks of s t eel, reinforced concret e or ot her s t ruct ural mat erial
driven t o form a cont inuous wall ahead of t he excavat ion and s upport ed eit her by
t ie-backs int o s olid ground s t ruct ural members from wit hin t he excavat ion as t he
work proceeds .##Shoring#The us e of t imber, s t eel or ot her s t ruct ural mat erial t o
s upport an excavat ion in order t o prevent collaps e s o t hat cons t ruct ion can
proceed.##Soldier#Vert ical upright s t eel or t imber element us ed for s upport ing a
t rench wall.##St rut #St ruct ural member (us ually horizont al) in compres s ion
res is t ing t hrus t or pres s ure from t he face or faces of an
excavat ion.##Tom#St ruct ural member us ed t o hold s oldiers agains t a t rench wall
or t o pres s walers apart in a clos e s heet ed t rench.##Trench#A horizont al or
inclined way or opening:(a)
t he lengt h of which is great er t han it s widt h and
great er t han or equal t o it s dept h; and(b)
t hat commences at and ext ends
below t he s urface of t he ground; and(c) t hat is open t o t he s urface along it s
lengt h.##Trench box#A s t ruct ure wit h four vert ical s ide plat es permanent ly
braced apart by bracing des igned t o res is t t he pres s ure from t he walls of a
t rench and capable of being moved as a unit .##Trench s hield#A s t eel or met al
s t ruct ure wit h t wo vert ical s ide plat es permanent ly braced apart by cros s frames
or s t rut s des igned t o res is t t he pres s ure from t he walls of a t rench and capable
of being moved as a unit .##Tunnel#An underground pas s age or opening t hat :a) is
approximat ely horizont al; andb)
commences at t he s urface of t he ground or an
excavat ion.##Underground es s ent ial s ervices #Es s ent ial s ervices t hat us e pipes ,
cables ot her as s ociat ed plant locat ed underground.##Underground es s ent ial

s ervices informat ion#Informat ion relat ing t o underground es s ent ial s ervices t hat
may be affect ed by t he excavat ion:(a)
t he es s ent ial s ervices t hat may be
affect ed(b) t he locat ion, including t he dept h, of any pipes , cables or ot her
plant as s ociat ed wit h t he affect ed es s ent ial s ervices , and(c)
any condit ions
on t he propos ed excavat ion work.##Waler#A horizont al s t eel or t imber element
us ed for s upport ing a t rench wall.##Wat er s couring#An eros ion proces s res ult ing
from t he act ion of t he flow of wat er.##Zone of influence#The volume of s oil
around t he excavat ion affect ed by any ext ernal load (for example, vehicles ,
plant , excavat ed mat erial).#######PAGE #Excavat ion work
SAFE WORK
AUSTRALIA MEMBERS MEETING 6#Sept ember 2011##Draft code of pract ice
30
Sept ember 2010#PAGE # PAGE #40# OF # NUMPAGES #40####Excavat ion work
SAFE WORK AUSTRALIA MEMBERS MEETING 6#Sept ember 2011##Draft code of
pract ice
30 Sept ember 2010####PAGE #
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