If you’ve spent all winter waiting for more sunlight and less cold air, congratulations; we’ve made it into spring! But the promise of nicer weather doesn’t mean we’re out of the danger zone. Spring brings its own challenges for those working in the industry. From rainfall to brisk temperatures to trench problems, here are some things to consider when working excavation jobs during the spring months.
THE RIGHT GEAR MATTERS
Say goodbye to winter coats and coveralls and say hello to worrying about heat exhaustion and dehydration. Your warm weather gear should consist of loose, lightweight clothing and if you’re regularly working outdoors, start applying sunscreen. When working outdoors, it’s best to wear gear that’ll help you conserve energy; sometimes going too hard in warmer temperatures can lead to undue stress or worse, exhaustion or heat stroke. Don’t forget protective eye gear and reflective outerwear, a great help when working in conditions where visibility is poor.
WATCH OUT FOR CAVE-INS
When working excavation, be extra careful when working with the earth. Moisture and warm air can loosen it, leading to a higher risk of cave-ins. When excavating, use a trench box to support both sides of the hole to establish stability. You can also dig the hole in a way that allows the sides to reinforce the hole.
THE PROBLEM WITH RAIN
For a few short months, rain will be your enemy. Plenty of rainfall can present a hazard for workers working in high-rises and areas with surfaces slick with rain. It can be a hazard for those working with live cables. It can lead to a higher chance of cave-ins and trench problems. It also poses a bigger problem when mixing with dirt or sand to turn into mud, not only posing a danger to workers but also equipment and machinery too. When working in rainy conditions, make sure you're wearing boots that have great traction on slippery surfaces.
BE SMART ABOUT YOUR EQUIPMENT
Rain and mud can make it far more challenging to operate machinery. It’s absolutely important to check that whatever machinery you handle is properly rated for outdoor use and expect slopes to be much harder to maneuver around. Work with tools sporting textures, non-slip handles to keep your grip in the elements. Double down on wiping mud from your boots before climbing into equipment - it’ll make the difference later on when you have to clean it all out!
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