Alliance -- An OSHA Cooperative Program << Back to Concluded Regional Alliances - Region V




  1. Alliance Background

    Date Signed.

    January 6, 2009

    Alliance Overview

    The Illinois OSHA offices, JULIE and Illinois Onsite Consultation worked together to provide training and education for underground and trenching contractors, subcontractors and labor groups on excavation hazards and related regulations.

    Implementation Team Members

    The Implementation Team Members included the Illinois OSHA offices Compliance Assistance Specialists, representatives from the Illinois Onsite Consultation program and JULIE representatives.

  2. Implementation Team Meetings

    On January 6, 2009, an initial implementation meeting was held.
    On February 4. 2009 an implementation meeting was held.
    September 17, 2009 an implementation meeting was held at the JULIE facility with the Director of Public Relations, the Damage Prevention Managers, and the Compliance Assistance Specialists from Calumet City and Peoria.

  3. Activities and Products

    Evaluation Period.

    The evaluation period was from January 6, 2009, to January 6, 2010.

    Alliance Activity.

    JULIE organized sixteen Excavation Safety Breakfasts throughout Illinois. OSHA representatives were provided a booth and an opportunity to discuss a wide variety of safety and health topics with the participants. At each session, the JULIE representatives conducted a training session. A part of each presentation addressed specific excavation hazards and some of the OSHA excavation requirements. The Peoria Compliance Assistance Specialist (CAS) and JULIE representatives developed PowerPoint slides that were used at all of the Excavation Safety Breakfasts.

    An implementation team developed an excavation permit and help sheets with some excavation related information that was shared with the participants at the breakfasts.

    Alliance Products.

    An implementation team developed an excavation permit and help sheets with some excavation related information that was shared with the participants at the breakfasts.

    An excavation safety article was developed and is available along with the excavation permit on the JULIE website.

  4. Results
     
    1. Impact of the Alliance activities and products

      By participating in the Excavation Safety Breakfasts the Illinois OSHA Area Offices are able to reach out to excavation contractors in an efficient and effective manner that required minimal resources on the part of the Agency. The sessions occur when excavation work in the field is minimal due to the frozen ground and the weather. The breakfast meetings provide an avenue for the Agency to assist participants in developing or improving their existing safety and health efforts. OSHAs participation in the sessions allows the Agency to reach out to effected workers to provide an understanding of the requirements and the methods to control related hazards.

      In less than two months, over 2,750 workers and managers were provided information on the OSHA national emphasis program and hazards related to their work. At the sessions, OSHA representatives answered individual questions. JULIE has committed the resources to organizing the sessions and through the alliance OSHA has been afforded the opportunity to simply show up at the sessions and maximize the opportunity to help participants understand and address hazards.
       
    2. Activity and the number of individuals reached or trained.

      Over 265 of the Excavation Permits were downloaded from illinois1call.com. The document helps excavators understand and meet the OSHA requirements.

      The following is a list of the Excavation Safety Breakfasts:
    Date Location Attendance
    1/8/2009 Kankakee 202
    1/9/2009 Urbana 224
    1/13/2009 Quincy 108
    1/14/2009 Springfield 194
    1/16/2009 Fairview Heights 199
    1/20/2009 Marion 116
    1/21/2009 Mt. Vernon 172
    1/22/2009 Crystal Lake 121
    1/23/2009 Rockford 162
    1/27/2009 Moline 159
    1/28/2009 LaSalle 127
    1/29/2009 Arlington Heights 127
    1/30/2009 Lisle 177
    2/3/2009 Effingham 211
    2/4/2009 East Peoria 222
    2/5/2009 Joliet 229
    Total Participants 2,750
  5. Upcoming Milestones

    JULIE is not planning on the winter meetings but indicated they would like to look at other opportunities to work together.

    JULIE has committed to participating in the DIOSH day

    JULIE and OSHA will be presenting at the Vermeer Safety School in Eureka and Moline.

    Report prepared by: Brian Bothast
JULIE Excavation Safety Article

The Illinois OSHA offices and JULIE have developed an alliance to help employers identify workplace hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific regulations to protect employees from cave-in hazards while working in trenches and excavations. Each excavation or trench is required to be inspected by a competent person daily. A competent person is defined as someone who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings and has the authority to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them. Inspections of excavations, the adjacent areas, and protective systems shall be made by a competent person for evidence of any situation that could result in cave-ins, failure of the protective systems, hazardous atmospheres, or any other hazardous condition. The inspections shall be conducted prior to the start of work and as needed throughout the shift. Inspections shall also be made after every rainstorm or other hazard increasing occurrence.
When the competent person finds evidence of a situation that could result in a possible cave-in, indications of failure of protective systems, hazardous atmospheres, or other hazardous conditions, exposed employees shall be removed from the hazardous area until the necessary precautions have been taken to ensure their safety. When an oxygen deficiency or a hazardous atmosphere could exist in the area, the atmosphere in the excavation shall be tested before employees enter.
The inspection shall ensure the design of support systems, shield systems, or other protective systems are in accordance with all specifications, recommendations, and limitations issued or made by the manufacturer. Shield systems must not be subject to loads exceeding those which the system was designed to withstand. Each soil or rock deposit shall be classified as stable rock, Type A, Type B, or Type C soil in accordance with the definitions in the OSHA standards. The classification of the deposits shall be made based on the results of at least one visual and one manual analysis. Deposits shall be reclassified as necessary to reflect changes in the soil. An excavation permit has been included to assist employers in meeting the OSHA requirements.

For additional information feel free to contact your local OSHA office below.

Aurora (630) 896-8700
Calumet City (708) 891-3800
Chicago North (847) 803-4800
Fairview Heights (618) 632-8612
Peoria (309) 589-7033

Excavation Entrance Permit

Date Location
JULIE contact date JULIE contact time
Competent Person   Inspection time
Inspection result or safety precaution Y, N,
or N/A
Initials
Has the location of utility installations, (sewer, telephone, fuel, electric, & water) been located prior to opening the excavation?    
Are underground installations protected, supported or removed as necessary to safeguard employees?    
Are support systems (shoring, bracing, & underpinning) provided to ensure the stability of adjoining structures?    
Have all surface encumbrances that could create a hazard been removed or supported to safeguard employees?    
Are employees exposed to vehicle traffic provided with, and required to wear, suitable high-visibility garments?
Are employees prohibited from being underneath/near loads?
Are employees prohibited from working in excavations containing water unless a special support or shield and water removal is used to prevent cave-ins?
In excavations 4 feet deep, is a safe means of egress (ladders, stairs, ramp) located within 25 feet of each worker in a trench?
Is excavated materials placed at least 2 ft. from the edge?
Did a registered professional engineer (P.E.) approve the design configuration of the excavation for the project?
If a Registered Professional Engineer designed the configuration, has the recommended design been followed?
If the excavation is deeper than 5 feet, but less than 20 feet, and cave-in protection was not designed by a P.E.; then the employer must meet the shielding (trench box), shoring system, or sloping/benching requirements.
Did a Competent person classify each soil deposit? Circle One: A B C
Visual test type Manual test type
Type of cave-in control used? √ type used
Shielding structure (trench box) able to support forces from area
Shoring system (hydraulic, timber, screw jack, etc.)
Sloping/benching (A = 1Vertical to Horizontal) (B = 1V to 1H) (C = 1V to 1H)

Definitions and Notes

"Competent person" - one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings, or working conditions that are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authority to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.

Daily inspections of excavations, the adjacent areas, and protective systems shall be made by a competent person for evidence of a situation that could result in possible cave-ins, indications of failure of protective systems, hazardous atmospheres, or other hazardous conditions. An inspection shall be conducted by the competent person prior to the start of work and as needed throughout the shift. Inspections shall also be made after every rainstorm or other hazard increasing occurrence.

Where the competent person finds evidence of a situation that could result in a possible cave-in, indications of failure of protective systems, hazardous atmospheres, or other hazardous conditions, exposed employees shall be removed from the hazardous area until the necessary precautions have been taken to ensure their safety.

Where oxygen deficiency or a hazardous atmosphere could reasonably be expected to exist, the atmosphere in the excavation shall be tested before employees enter excavations greater than four feet deep.

Design of support systems, shield systems, or other protective systems that are drawn from manufacturer's tabulated data shall be in accordance with all specifications, recommendations, and limitations issued or made by the manufacturer. Shield systems shall not be subjected to loads exceeding those which the system was designed to withstand. Shields shall be installed in a manner to restrict lateral or other hazardous movement of the shield in the event of the application of sudden lateral loads.

Each soil and rock deposit shall be classified by a competent person as Stable Rock, Type A, Type B, or Type C in accordance with the definitions. The classification of the deposits shall be made based on the results of at least one visual and at least one manual analysis. Deposit shall be reclassified as necessary to reflect the changed circumstances.

Excavations made in Type A soil
Excavations made in Type A soil
Excavations made in Type B soil
Excavations made in Type B Soil
Excavations made in Type C soil
Excavations made in Type C soil
  1. OVERVIEW: SOIL MECHANICS.

    A number of stresses and deformations can occur in an open cut or trench. For example, increases or decreases in moisture content can adversely affect the stability of a trench or excavation. The following diagrams show some of the more frequently identified causes of trench failure.
     
    A. TENSION CRACKS. Tension cracks usually form at a horizontal distance of 0.5 to 0.75 times the depth of the trench, measured from the top of the vertical face of the trench. See the accompanying drawing for additional details. FIGURE 5:2-1. TENSION CRACK.
    FIGURE 5:2-1. TENSION CRACK.
    B. SLIDING or sluffing may occur as a result of tension cracks, as illustrated below. FIGURE 5:2-2. SLIDING.
    FIGURE 5:2-2. SLIDING.
    C. TOPPLING. In addition to sliding, tension cracks can cause toppling. Toppling occurs when the trench's vertical face shears along the tension crack line and topples into the excavation. FIGURE 5:2-3. TOPPLING.
    FIGURE 5:2-3. TOPPLING.
    D. SUBSIDENCE AND BULGING. An unsupported excavation can create an unbalanced stress in the soil, which, in turn, causes subsidence at the surface and bulging of the vertical face of the trench. If uncorrected, this condition can cause face failure and entrapment of workers in the trench. FIGURE 5:2-4. SUBSIDENCE AND BULGING.
    FIGURE 5:2-4. SUBSIDENCE AND BULGING.
    E. HEAVING OR SQUEEZING. Bottom heaving or squeezing is caused by the downward pressure created by the weight of adjoining soil. This pressure causes a bulge in the bottom of the cut, as illustrated in the drawing above. Heaving and squeezing can occur even when shoring or shielding has been properly installed. FIGURE 5:2-5. HEAVING OR SQUEEZING.
    FIGURE 5:2-5. HEAVING OR SQUEEZING.
    F. BOILING is evidenced by an upward water flow into the bottom of the cut. A high water table is one of the causes of boiling. Boiling produces a "quick" condition in the bottom of the cut, and can occur even when shoring or trench boxes are used. FIGURE 5:2-6. BOILING.
    FIGURE 5:2-6. BOILING.
    G. UNIT WEIGHT OF SOILS refers to the weight of one unit of a particular soil. The weight of soil varies with type and moisture content. One cubic foot of soil can weigh from 110 pounds to 140 pounds or more, and one cubic meter (35.3 cubic feet) of soil can weigh more than 3,000 pounds.
     

DETERMINATION OF SOIL TYPE.

OSHA categorizes soil and rock deposits into four types, A through D, as follows:

  1. STABLE ROCK is natural solid mineral matter that can be excavated with vertical sides and remain intact while exposed. It is usually identified by a rock name such as granite or sandstone. Determining whether a deposit is of this type may be difficult unless it is known whether cracks exist and whether or not the cracks run into or away from the excavation.
     
  2. TYPE A SOILS are cohesive soils with an unconfined compressive strength of 1.5 tons per square foot (tsf) (144 kPa) or greater. Examples of Type A cohesive soils are often: clay, silty clay, sandy clay, clay loam and, in some cases, silty clay loam and sandy clay loam. (No soil is Type A if it is fissured, is subject to vibration of any type, has previously been disturbed, is part of a sloped, layered system where the layers dip into the excavation on a slope of 4 horizontal to 1 vertical (4H:1V) or greater, or has seeping water.
     
  3. TYPE B SOILS are cohesive soils with an unconfined compressive strength greater than 0.5 tsf (48 kPa) but less than 1.5 tsf (144 kPa). Examples of other Type B soils are: angular gravel; silt; silt loam; previously disturbed soils unless otherwise classified as Type C; soils that meet the unconfined compressive strength or cementation requirements of Type A soils but are fissured or subject to vibration; dry unstable rock; and layered systems sloping into the trench at a slope less than 4H:1V (only if the material would be classified as a Type B soil).
     
  4. TYPE C SOILS are cohesive soils with an unconfined compressive strength of 0.5 tsf (48 kPa) or less. Other Type C soils include granular soils such as gravel, sand and loamy sand, submerged soil, soil from which water is freely seeping, and submerged rock that is not stable. Also included in this classification is material in a sloped, layered system where the layers dip into the excavation or have a slope of four horizontal to one vertical (4H:1V) or greater.
     
  5. LAYERED GEOLOGICAL STRATA. Where soils are configured in layers, i.e., where a layered geologic structure exists, the soil must be classified on the basis of the soil classification of the weakest soil layer. Each layer may be classified individually if a more stable layer lies below a less stable layer, i.e., where a Type C soil rests on top of stable rock.

The designated competent person should be able to demonstrate the following:

Training, experience, and knowledge of:
- soil analysis;
- use of protective systems; and
- requirements of 29 CFR Part 1926 Subpart P.

Ability to detect:
- conditions that could result in cave-ins;
- failures in protective systems;
- hazardous atmospheres; and
- other hazards including those associated with confined spaces.

Authority to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate existing and predictable hazards and to stop work when required.

The competent person must conduct inspections and they should be documented.

  • Daily and before the start of each shift and as dictated by the work being done;
  • After every rainstorm or other event that could increase hazards, (thawing, etc.)
  • When fissures, tension cracks, sloughing, undercutting, or other conditions occur;
  • When there is a change in the size, location, or placement of the spoil pile; and
  • When there is any indication of change or movement in adjacent structures.

Overview for Subpart P - Excavations

29 CFR 1926.652(a)(1) (Protection in Excavations)
.651(k)(1) (Inspections)
.651(j)(2) (Loose Rock/Soil)
.651(c)(2) (Means of Egress)
.651(d) (Vehicular Traffic)
.651(k)(2) (Inspections)
.651(h)(1) (Water Accumulation)
.651(j)(1) (Loose Rock/Soil)
.651(l)(2)* (Walkways/Guardrails)
.651(e) (Falling Loads)
.651(i)(3) (Adjacent Structures)
.651(l)(1)* (Walkways/Guardrails)
.652(b) (Sloping/Benching Systems)
.651(i)(1) (Adjacent Structures)
.652(c) (Design/Protective Systems)
.652(g)(2) (Shield Systems Requirements)
.652(g)(1) (Shield Systems/General)
.651(b)(4) (Underground Installations)
.651(g)(1) (Hazardous Atmospheres)
.651(a) (Surface Encumbrances)
.652(a)(2) (Protective Systems)

TEST EQUIPMENT AND METHODS FOR EVALUATING SOIL TYPE.

Many kinds of equipment and methods are used to determine the type of soil prevailing in an area, as described below.

POCKET PENETROMETER. Penetrometers are direct-reading, spring-operated instruments used to determine the unconfined compressive strength of saturated cohesive soils. Once pushed into the soil, an indicator sleeve displays the reading. The instrument is calibrated in either tons per square foot (tsf) or kilograms per square centimeter (kPa). Penetrometers have error rates in the range of 20-40%.

Shear vane (Torvane). To determine the unconfined compressive strength of the soil with a shear vane, the blades of the vane are pressed into a level section of undisturbed soil, and the torsional knob is slowly turned until soil failure occurs. The direct instrument reading must be multiplied by 2 to provide results in tons per square foot (tsf) or kilograms per square centimeter (kPa).

Thumb Penetration Test. The thumb penetration procedure involves an attempt to press the thumb firmly into the soil in question. If the thumb makes an indentation in the soil only with great difficulty, the soil is probably Type A. If the thumb penetrates no further than the length of the thumb nail, it is probably Type B soil, and if the thumb penetrates the full length of the thumb, it is Type C soil. The thumb test is subjective and is therefore the least accurate of the three methods.

Dry Strength Test. Dry soil that crumbles freely or with moderate pressure into individual grains is granular. Dry soil that falls into clumps that subsequently break into smaller clumps (and the smaller clumps can be broken only with difficulty) is probably clay in combination with gravel, sand, or silt. If the soil breaks into clumps that do not break into smaller clumps (and the soil can be broken only with difficulty), the soil is considered unfissured unless there is visual indication of fissuring.

PLASTICITY OR WET THREAD TEST. This test is conducted by molding a moist sample of the soil into a ball and attempting to roll it into a thin thread approximately 1/8 inch (3 mm) in diameter (thick) by 2 inches (50 mm) in length. The soil sample is held by one end. If the sample does not break or tear, the soil is considered cohesive.

VISUAL TEST. A visual test is a qualitative evaluation of conditions around the site. In a visual test, the entire excavation site is observed, including the soil adjacent to the site and the soil being excavated. If the soil remains in clumps, it is cohesive; if it appears to be coarse-grained sand or gravel, it is considered granular. The evaluator also checks for any signs of vibration.

During a visual test, the evaluator should check for crack-line openings along the failure zone that would indicate tension cracks, look for existing utilities that indicate that the soil has previously been disturbed, and observe the open side of the excavation for indications of layered geologic structuring.

The evaluator should also look for signs of bulging, boiling, or sluffing, as well as for signs of surface water seeping from the sides of the excavation or from the water table. If there is standing water in the cut, the evaluator should check for "quick" conditions. In addition, the area adjacent to the excavation should be checked for signs of foundations or other intrusions into the failure zone, and the evaluator should check for surcharging and the spoil distance from the edge of the excavation.