On August 12, contract workers entered an excavation to cap a waterline. An excavation permit was originally obtained on August 8th when the excavation was dug but was closed out on August 9th and a new permit was never obtained. A daily inspection had been filled out prior to starting work, but as they proceeded with the job task they realized additional clearance was needed and the contract workers exited the excavation to facilitate more digging. Following the additional digging, the contract workers did not re-utilize the checklist nor move the excavator out of harm’s way, but instead went back to work. Upon the Operator’s Safety Personnel walking up to the site it was discovered that the excavation was not sloped properly and the excavation equipment was inches away from the edge of the hole. All work was stopped and the contractors were instructed to get out of the hole.
The contractor Safety Specialist acting as the Competent Person has not overseen excavation activities in some time and admitted that he was not knowledgeable of all of the excavation safety requirements.
Operator initiated stop work after observing safety concerns.
No Excavation Permit from Operator.
The daily checklist had been performed but was not updated when they had to deepen the excavation.
Lack of sufficient oversight by plant personnel
What Can We Learn?
Time Pressure: The contractor may have felt urgency that pushed him to make poor decisions, take short-cuts, or not follow the rules.
Peer Pressure: The contractor could have made bad decisions as a result of being negatively influenced by the actions, words, or seniority of a coworker.
The Operator’s employees did use a Questioning Attitude after observing the safety concerns which resulted in them Stopping Work.
The contractor should have used a Questioning Attitude as there was no permit, the Safety Specialist was not knowledgeable, and the checklist was not being re-utilized.
Ask the Right Questions