April 21, 2015

Working in a trench box.



It looks dangerous, but I presume they know what they are doing. Meade took that video of the workers who are redoing the streets in our neighborhood. (You may notice that there is a shushing of the dog at 0:18.)

33 comments:

sdharms said...

I can tell you that those guys should not have been working in the trench while the backhoe was dropping soil near them.

SteveR said...

There are very specific rules for this type of activity and sdhams is probably right. They may have a "plan" which provides for operating as we see within the rules and ultimately what is safe.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Based on the urban dictionary, I'm pretty sure trench box is redundant.

buwaya said...

We had a case in Fresno last week where a crew doing precisely this hit a natural gas pipe. 16 injured.

Crimso said...

The title made me immediately think of Spinal Tap's "Hellhole."

["You know where you stand in a trench box!"]

Hagar said...

Without the trenchbox it would be dangerous, or at least against OSHA rules. The soil here does not look susceptible to cave ins.
And the backhoe is dumping sand bedding for the pipe, one bucket at a time, to be hand-leveled by the two guys in the trench.
Must be a union job, since two guys for that job is ridiculous.

james conrad said...

The trench box is required when working in a ditch over 5 feet deep. There are other ways to shore the ditch up, timber & pole jacks for instance or you could bench the ditch.

Kzookitty said...

"It looks dangerous, but I presume they know what they are doing."

The two are not mutually exclusive. No one goes through a career in construction without scars.

And try as they might, OSHA regs can't prevent all accidents. Workers cut corners all the time if it makes the job go easier/faster.

kzookitty

CJinPA said...

Workin' in the trench box
Goin' on down, down
Workin' in a trench box
Oops, about to slip down

Kzookitty said...

The Naval Safety Center features a work safety photo of the week which illustrates some the more picturesque blunders.

kzookitty

TA said...

Which dog?

Hagar said...

I can remember when OSHA fined Natkin Plumbing over at Champaign $1,500 for not having the load capacity of the floor in their warehouse posted on the walls.
The floor was slab-on-grade.

Hagar said...

That would be $7-8,000 in today's money.
I expect what happened was that the OSHA inspector was unhappy about some comment somebody made within his hearing.

Bruce Hayden said...

This is one of those reasons why I am happy to have some college degrees under my belt. I know several kids I grew up with, and ran with a bit, who died in cave ins of this sort of trenching. They never finished high school (though they were plenty smart enough to have done so), and so their employment alternatives were limited.

Jim Dooger said...

Come on guys, that's an excavator, not a backhoe.

Hagar said...

So, what is the difference between a big backhoe and a small excavator?

Jim Dooger said...

A backhoe typically has wheels and a bucket on the front. The excavator has treads and can rotate 360 degrees. Size doesn't matter.

David said...

It is dangerous. And also a bad way to die. Even in this day of emphasizing job safety, it causes numerous deaths.

From the CDC:

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data show that 271 workers died in trenching or excavation cave-ins from 2000 through 2006. A review of multiple national databases by NIOSH researchers found that trenching and excavation hazards during construction activities resulted in 488 deaths between 1992 and 2000 - an average of 54 fatalities each year. Sixty-eight percent of those fatalities occurred in companies with fewer than 50 workers. Forty-six percent of the deaths occurred in small companies with 10 or fewer workers. Hazards associated with trench work and excavation are recognized and preventable, yet injuries and fatalities associated with these hazards continue to occur. Regulations and consensus standards describe engineering controls, protective equipment, and safe work practices to minimize hazards for workers during trench work and excavations.

Hagar said...

Probably rotating or fixed cab makes the difference. Lots of backhoes run on tracks these days.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Where are the lady workers? War on women!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

David said..."U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data show that 271 workers died in trenching or excavation cave-ins from 2000 through 2006"

Golly that sounds like an epidemic of horrible on-the-job deaths. Did I miss the Rolling Stone article? Or, wait, were almost all of those who died male workers? If so nevermind, no story there.

EDH said...

Another trenchant observation from Althouse.

jeff said...

Having done this job for a number of years and attending a ton of Osha required meetings, there is nothing particularly dangerous here. And I highly doubt crew doing Precisely this" hit a gas line as lines are rarely hit while filling a hole. The Fresno issue was caused by digging without locating utilities. I see no indication that is the case here. Looks like guys laying new pipe. No big deal.

jeff said...

"This is one of those reasons why I am happy to have some college degrees under my belt. I know several kids I grew up with," Fantastic. I did this with a bunch of college grades including one masters as we were paid $25/hr straight time back in 1995.

SJ said...

@Kzookitty
And the backhoe is dumping sand bedding for the pipe, one bucket at a time, to be hand-leveled by the two guys in the trench.
Must be a union job, since two guys for that job is ridiculous.


I actually suspect that safety is somewhat better on a two-man team.

If both operators are practiced in the art of keeping an eye on each other, and various hazards in the environment. And if they can trust each other to give warnings or reminders about safety when necessary.

Kzookitty said...

SJ, I think you mixed me up with another commentator (no big deal).

I agree with you completely. Would never see me working in a trench like that without somebody around to dig me out.
Actually the next trench I get in, I'll be lying very still and they'll be shoveling dirt over me.

kzookitty

Anonymous said...

This is an example of the dirty, dangerous, outdoor jobs that pay pretty well and very few women want. I bet if you interview those guys they would say dirty, dangerous, outdoor, serving women and children, and seeing the results of their efforts are all characteristics of a job they love to do.

Howard said...

What Jeff said. Shallow sewer excavation with a trench-box is about as safe as it gets.

Bruce, you will be happy to know that some of the smartest people I know are heavy equipment operators. Of course with no contest, the most idiotic mind-numbingly stupid people in the world are lawyers. Glad you are cloistered safely away from real Men's work where you could do actual harm.

Hagar said...

The most dangerous thing going on here under these conditions is that, without the trench box, the operator of the - ah - excavator might slip and knock the guys in the trench silly with the bucket.
This happens now and then.

SJ said...

@KzooKitty, @Hagar:

I apologize for confusing one of you for the other.

Johnny Sokko said...

When i was in high school, a classmate's father died when a trench caved in. It was very sad - a 16 year old boy lost his dad.

Surplus Solutions said...

These trench boxes at groundworks are awesome, www.gwss.ca

Surplus Solutions said...

These trench boxes by groundworks are awesome, www.gwss.ca