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Instant Download of Documents and Procedures for the Australian Building and Construction Industry to assist Developers, Builders, Tradespeople and Owner Builders.

One cubic meter of soil weighs about two tonne – that will crush a number of body parts in seconds or maybe kill someone. Reduce the hassles and risks you experience on-site by getting your team fully up to date with the safer procedures. They can polish up their knowledge with an Excavation Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) for excavation. You can polish up your spare time achieved by not having to attend injury inquiries.

A hole in the ground is not simply the result of throwing endless muscle power or machinery at it.

Excavation Risks 

One of the bigger risks is collapsing walls, then falling materials and tools, and lastly, entire vehicles or people falling into poorly demarcated holes. Here are some tips:

The Rule Above All Rules

No, there is never a piece of ground you can stand on if it is unsupported. It is absolutely not negotiable. Add heavy machinery, and you add extra support. Add vibrations, and you add extra support.

Before You Dig

All digging starts with information. You, as a contractor, must be supplied with all the details of underground watercourses, ground conditions, existing hidden structures, and any existing services.


Before starting the creation of your negative space masterpiece, plan your support for digging assistance. Have it on hand, don’t cut corners, and use temporary supports whilst installing long-term supports.


Different soils need different solutions, e.g. a granular soil excavation can have a lesser angle of the slope. A wet site will need a greater angle.

Regardless of the correct angle specified, the support of the sides of the excavations must be with sturdy battering.

No vehicles or plant machinery should be parked anywhere near the edge of the excavation.

Falling Materials

Soil heaps are the biggest cause of injury due to falling in the excavation. Reinforce your edges with protection such as toe boards, projecting trench sheets, or box sides.

For other unfortunate material falls, protective headwear is essential. It may not look like there is much above you; however, there is a passing stream of risk. To stop vehicles and passersby from falling in, set up large clear barriers with toe boards and guard rails near the lip.


The work must get regular safety inspections from a well-trained, experienced person – at the beginning and after any event that might have destabilised the tunnel or trench.

Ensuring a ‘hole’ lot of quality safety processes are followed means fewer hassles in your workday and more time to do what matters to you. Our excavation SWMS will help you achieve this. Do you have any questions about excavating? Call us today.