Excavating? There’s a wealth of wisdom on YouTube

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Whatever your interest you’ll find no end of videos on YouTube to feed it. Much of the footage is for amusement only but there’s also plenty of serious stuff on serious topics: and digging trenches is no exception.

Many YouTube videos on the subject provide graphic evidence of the dangers associated with excavation and could prove very valuable for training new workers. Take this one for example. In one minute twenty five seconds it shows how speedy action by safety officers almost certainly saved the life of one worker, and rams home the message: shore or slope trenches more than 1.5 metres deep.

There are also plenty of professionally produced short training films on all aspects of trenching, such as this ten minute one on shoring produced by the US Underground Contractors Association (They have the slogan “We Dig America” - nice).

The video states that of the more than 250 construction workers that are injured every day in the US, 12 percent are injured on their first day, 55 percent in their first month and 40 percent have had no safety training. (Video published July 23, 2012)

Underground work accounts for a large proportion of this toll. In the US on average two workers are killed every week in trench cave-ins, according to this video.

It also says: “Trenching and excavation work - it's the starting point of many construction projects. Unfortunately, this type of work is dangerous; the fatality rate for excavation work is 112 percent higher than the rate for general construction.” (Video published December 19, 2013)

To ram home the message there’s more than one video from victims of trenching accidents who have survived being buried alive. In fact one of these, Eric Giguere, has become something of a celebrity speaking about his near death experience that, he says, had profound effects on him and his family. “Eric speaks from the heart with a desire that people will learn from his experiences.”

There are plenty of trench collapses captured as they happened. In this one, a safety officer looks into a 20 foot (six metre) deep trench and says: “looks like you have a shoring problem there. Get that worker of there.” Moments later the trench collapses narrowly missing the worker who seems remarkably unfazed by the experience.

The video has generated lots of comments: “In the UK that supervisor and his bosses would be sacked on the spot,” and “This is so stupid. Can’t believe you’re in a trench 20 feet with no reshore!” Sadly as numerous videos demonstrate, inadequate shoring is way too common.

And it’s not only people that are risk in excavations. A major part of PelicanCorp’s business is preventing damage to underground infrastructure during excavations, but even when excavators are aware of the location of this infrastructure they must often work close to it. This video demonstrates technology designed to protect pipelines from the unwelcome advances of a sharp-toothed excavator.

Infrastructure protection news brought to you by PelicanCorp

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