Ground Disturbance Awareness
A ground disturbance can be defined as any activity that compacts or disturbs the ground within a project area. This term is often interchangeable with “excavation” as the job activity is below grade and displaces existing dirt, rocks or clay. Along with many other jobs on a worksite, there are several hazards when executing ground disturbance that can jeopardize the safety of your employees. It is crucial that your team is well equipped to stay compliant and trained to avoid hazards when taking on the task of ground disturbance. Without adequate preparation, ground disturbance hazards can present the risks of serious injury or even death.
Ground disturbance encompasses a wide variety of activity from workers using tools and hand digging on a site all the way to operating heavy machinery to remove large amounts of earth. With utilities such as gas, electric, water and internet traveling underground through pipes and lines, exposing them may lead to hazardous situations for workers. Utilities being exposed can lead to burns, drowning, suffocation or even electrocution.
When utility lines or pipes are disrupted, it can also impact the surrounding areas, neighborhoods and people by cutting them off from their resources. Evacuation could be a possibility and generally, the results can disturb those in the area. Training to prepare for ground disturbance endeavors is crucial to protect workers from hazards and prepare workers to execute the job properly.
When workers have completed this course, they should be able to identify basic ground disturbance principles and hazards. They should also be able to identify the different employee roles for excavation, such as the excavator and locator. They should be able to recognize underground utility markings and identify what to do if someone contacts a buried utility on the worksite, even if no damage occurs.