Trenchless pipelining has become the leading choice in the industry, this innovative method offers exceptional value when compared to other options and often reduces employee exposure to many hazards associated with open-cut excavations. 

But trenchless operations also pose a risk and can expose workers to various hazards that must be controlled or eliminated. A properly trained professional must always oversee the operations to ensure safety. 

Here we will explore some safety considerations for the trenchless industry. 

Safety Requirements 

  • Contractors should follow the safety recommendations provided by the manufacturer.
  • A protective system, shoring, shielding or sloping is required to protect workers from a cave-in when necessary.
  • Tools must be set back at least two feet from the edge of the excavation.

Choosing a Protective System

  • When excavating, a protective system, such as trench boxes or engineered systems should be used.
  • Use a system with closed ends to prevent the ends of the trench from caving in.
  • Workers must always be protected from a cave-in.
  • Placement of cranes and other equipment will affect soil stability including type, location and weight of the equipment. 
  • Pit must be large enough to include the boring or jacking equipment and space for workers.
  • Every pit should include a safety zone where workers can stand clear of loads hoisted into or out of the trench. 

Work Zones

  • Traffic control, such as barricades, fences or flaggers, must be implemented.
  • Keep everybody clear of machines and excavations except for personnel who need to be in the area.

Unsafe Environment

  • Exhausts from vehicles, excavators or other equipment can cause an unsafe environment.
  • Confirm the atmosphere in the pit is monitored with a gas monitor and is safe to work in.
  • If oxygen levels are low, flammable gases or toxic materials can be encountered. 

Always be sure to follow the guidelines set out by your manufacturer, municipality and any other regulations to ensure a safe working environment.


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