Excavations are one of the most dangerous activities on a construction site, and trench cave-ins are among the deadliest accidents in an excavation. Workers can be buried alive under collapsed trenched walls, where they can suffer asphyxiation, drowning, and inhalation of toxic fumes. The proper erection of a shoring system can mean the difference between life and death, as one trench collapse survivor learned the hard way. Eric Giguere survived the collapse against all odds, and went on to share his story in hopes of convincing others to take the necessary safety precautions.
Then 27-year-old Giguere was working as a laborer for a small contractor. He was attached to a six-man crew responsible for installing a 12-inch water main. Giguere knew that the crew should halt further excavation and erect a shoring system or slope the sides as soon as the trench went past the five-foot mark. However, according to Giguere, his boss had always skipped those necessary safety precautions in the past. And since the crew had already been working on that particular line for months without a problem, they decided to keep working rather than take precautions.
The Trench Cave-In
On the day of the trench collapse, October 4, 2002, Giguere was looking forward to leaving on a Caribbean honeymoon that evening. Instead, Giguere was buried alive. He had no time to react to the collapse, as a cave-in happens in just moments. Giguere remained conscious for an estimated 90 seconds, during which time he tried desperately to move. When he exhaled, the dirt pressed against his chest, preventing him from inhaling. Just one cubic yard of dirt can weigh up to 3,000 lbs. There are rarely survivors in these accidents, but Giguere was lucky to have quick-thinking coworkers who dug him out and performed CPR.
The Aftermath and the Lessons Learned
Giguere spent 36 hours on life support, with a punctured lung and severe brain damage in three areas of the brain. All of his ribs were broken, and it took 2.5 years of therapy to recover. Today, as the founder of Safety Awareness Solutions, Giguere uses his near-death experience to convince others of the necessity of following all of the regulations at all times—no matter what.
The shoring erection team at Scaffold Resource undergoes intensive and ongoing training to ensure adherence to all current safety regulations. If your company is planning an excavation near Washington, D.C. that requires shoring erection, you can count on our experts to get the job done right. Call (301) 924-7223.
Excavations and shoring erection can bring many challenges. When you watch the featured video, you’ll learn about some common excavation situations and how to adjust the shoring system accordingly. Note that the soil type plays a critical role in designing a safe excavation.
The first situation you’ll examine is an excavation eight feet deep and nine feet wide. The soil is hard and solid. The second situation presented in this video is a trench that is eight feet deep and four feet wide. For each situation, you’ll learn about the proper placement of the uprights, stringers, and struts.
When you partner with Scaffold Resource in Washington, D.C., you can expect a high degree of precision and accuracy, as safety is our number one priority. Call (301) 924-7223 to request information about our shoring systems or scaffolding rentals.
The construction industry is often perceived as one that is slow to change. But in fact, it has undergone considerable transformations over the years. One of the more significant trends is the improvement in safety practices and equipment. During the year ahead, it’s expected that new technology will continue to improve worker safety. Other anticipated construction trends for 2019 include the increase in prefabricated and modular construction, and a heavier emphasis on sustainability and green practices.
Use of High-Tech Safety Equipment
Every worker in every industry has the potential to sustain injuries. But the construction field is certainly one of the most inherently dangerous. There are many OSHA regulations designed specifically for the construction field, and thanks to emerging technologies, it’s easier than ever for workers and supervisors to adhere to them. Project managers can look into new apps that make key safety information accessible from anywhere on the worksite. There are apps available for chemical safety data sheets, OSHA safety regulations, and arc flash calculations, just to name a few. Project managers can even find a line of touchscreen-compatible gloves appropriate for the industry. Other safety-oriented technologies include the following:
- Virtual reality for safety training programs
- Smart safety vests and hard hats equipped with sensors, GPS, and real-time locating
- Smart site sensors to monitor the air for toxins
- Drones for overhead site inspections and hazard detection
Increase in Prefabricated and Modular Construction
It’s expected that more companies will rely heavily on prefab and modular units to save time and money. Since the units are manufactured in a factory, there are no weather delays to slow construction. Prefab and modular construction is also ideal during a time when construction material costs are rising and manpower is becoming scarcer.
Trend Toward Sustainability in Construction Practices
Sustainability in construction is a major trend that’s expected to continue to grow in 2019 and beyond. Sustainable building practices include reducing and recycling waste. Sustainable projects also focus on restorations whenever possible, rather than tear-downs and new construction.
Scaffold Resource has achieved a rare accomplishment: two million man hours worked without a lost time injury. Our shoring erection and scaffolding company in Washington, D.C. can design a customized safety training program for your own workers. Call (301) 924-7223 to inquire.
The Benjamin Franklin Bridge crosses the Delaware River to connect Camden and Philadelphia. At the time it was built, in the mid-1920s, the Ben Franklin Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world. This accomplishment was made possible by the development of higher-quality steel, which gave the bridge the strength it needed to span the 533 meters. As strong as the bridge is, it still needs routine maintenance work, which is why Scaffold Resource was called in to design and install the scaffolding required for the work.
The contractor work items for the Ben Franklin Bridge included blasting, painting, and lead paint abatement. Like all major projects, there were a number of challenges unique to the Ben Franklin Bridge project. Scaffold Resource had to design and install scaffolding over active traffic. The roadway spans 85 feet. Furthermore, the scaffolding needed to safely withstand wind gusts of up to 100 miles per hour. To complete this project, the Scaffold Resource team accepted delivery of equipment from a barge.
For all of your construction scaffolding needs in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding areas, call (301) 924-7223. Scaffold Resource also provides shoring rentals.