Key risks include collapse, material falling in from the sides, falls over the edge or from ladders and other climbing or access apparatus, overturning plant and driving into or too close to the area (increasing the risk of collapse).
Recognising the relevance of other associated health and safety legislation, excavations (except those carried out for archaeological, quarrying and mining purposes) are specifically addressed in the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015).
Areas covered include the prevention of danger to workers in or near excavations, the need to take suitable and sufficient steps to prevent anyone or anything falling into an excavation, and to prevent overloading on any part of an excavation or nearby ground. Arrangements for inspection by a competent person are also addressed.
It’s important to also consider associated risks, such as contact with underground services (resulting in fire, explosion, electrocution and/or burns), drowning (where water ingress is a potential issue), asphyxiation (caused by a lack of oxygen or inhalation of toxic fumes) and leptospirosis.