Foundation drilling presents numerous opportunities for dangerous situations, but with the proper drilling safety protocols and preparation, you can minimize the risk of injury and increase the safety of your crews.
Always follow local, state, and federal guidelines, as well as OSHA standards, when you break ground on a foundation drilling project to ensure your workers have a safe job site that won’t expose them to risk.
Implement a drilling safety plan from day one and include safety protocols and objectives in your initial bid or proposal. Not only does this ensure the safety of your crew members, but it also illustrates your commitment to quality work to prospective clients.
The below five tips will ensure you protect your workers and deliver a solid foundation drilling project on time and within budget.
Analyze Site Conditions and Potential Hazards During the Planning Phase
Identifying potential hazards and creating safety protocols during the planning phase is the most effective way to increase worker safety and avoid injury.
By developing a comprehensive safety plan in the early stages of your project, you can avoid surprise injuries resulting from unforeseen conditions or a lack of communication.
Once you have created a pre-task hazard analysis, it’s essential to develop and implement daily checklists, protocols, and meetings to ensure a safe work site. Ensure all Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is worn correctly and in good condition. Communicate the specific work for the day and go through your safety checklist at the beginning of the day to avoid exposing your team to dangerous situations.
Make sure that every team member knows the safety rules and works in accordance with them. With a proper plan and open communication, you can avoid hazardous situations which can result in injury or even death while keeping your project on track.
Drilling Safety Gear and Personal Protective Equipment
This may seem like an obvious issue; however, most injuries that occur on foundation drilling sites arise because of a lack of or improperly worn safety gear or PPE.
Make sure your teams are educated on the proper way to utilize safety gear and that their PPE is in good working condition to ensure complete protection. Hard hats need to undergo regular inspections for cracks and other damage.
If you are working with cement, welding equipment, or other materials that can damage the eyes or skin, make sure every team member has proper goggles, masks, and gloves on a daily basis before work begins.
Inspect first aid kits and fire extinguishers regularly to make sure they are in good working order and don’t need replenishment or replacement.
Conduct a Thorough Site Analysis
Part of any comprehensive drilling safety plan is a site analysis that identifies potential hazards and mitigates them before they pose a threat. Make sure that walkways and all work areas are clear of debris, loose gravel, or other slippery materials that could cause a fall.
Elevated platforms, walkways, or stairwells should have appropriately maintained handrails and toe boards.
Another important consideration is proper receptacles for the disposal of hazardous materials, trash, and other waste that can pose a fire hazard.
Protect Your Crew from Falling Hazards
Due to the nature of foundation drilling projects, falling hazards pose a high risk for workers and should be taken very seriously.
Make sure that drilled areas that are not active at the time are properly covered with steel plates or wooden boards to prevent injury. Inactive drill areas, install steel casing at least 3.5’ above grade, and fix personal fall arrest systems around these sites.
Also, make sure proper signage is installed to indicate potentially hazardous conditions.
Drilling Safety Protocols and Inspections are an Ongoing Part of Every Project
While it’s crucial to design and implement safety plans and protocols, one of the biggest causes of injury is negligence on the part of crew members or management.
Ensuring a safe work site requires constant diligence, and maintaining strict adherence to protocols, plans, and guidelines needs to happen daily.
This is especially true on larger projects with longer schedules, as complacency can cause a breakdown of these systems.
Reiterate to all crew, management, and site visitors the importance of following your site safety plan and proper PPE while on-site to maintain safety and avoid injuries.
Foundation drilling projects require a serious commitment to safety protocols to maintain a secure job site and protect crew and visitors from hazardous conditions. By following these guidelines and consulting with local vendors regarding safety plans and site protection, you can protect your workers while delivering high-quality work.
No two jobs are the same, but there are standard safety practices for foundation drilling projects to ensure worker’s protection.
By developing and implementing these procedures, you can avoid costly downtime and ensure worker safety.