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Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 (Act No. 85 of 1993)


Construction Regulations, 2014

13. Excavation


(1) A contractor must—
(a) ensure that all excavation work is carried out under the supervision of a competent person who has been appointed in writing for that purpose; and
(b) evaluate, as far as is reasonably practicable, the stability of the ground before excavation work begins.


(2) A contractor who performs excavation work—
(a) must take reasonable and sufficient steps in order to prevent, as far as is reasonably practicable, any person from being buried or trapped by a fall or dislodgement of material in an excavation;
(b) may not require or permit any person to work in an excavation which has not been adequately shored or braced: Provided that shoring and bracing may  not be necessary   where—
(i) the sides of the excavation are sloped to at least the maximum angle of repose measured relative to the horizontal plane; or
(ii) such an excavation is in stable material: Provided that—
(aa) permission has been given in writing  by the  appointed  competent person contemplated in subregulation (1) upon evaluation by him or her of the site conditions; and
(bb) where any uncertainty pertaining to the stability of the soil still exists, the decision from a professional engineer or a professional technologist competent in excavations is decisive and such a decision must be noted in writing and signed by both the competent person contemplated in subregulation (1) and the professional engineer or technologist, as the case may be;
(c) must take steps to ensure that the shoring or bracing contemplated in paragraph (b) is designed and constructed in a manner that renders it strong  enough to support the sides of the excavation in question;
(d) must ensure that no load, material, plant or equipment is placed or moved near the edge  of  any  excavation  where  it  may  cause  its  collapse  and  consequently endangers the safety of any person, unless precautions such as the provision of sufficient and suitable shoring  or bracing are taken to prevent the  sides from collapsing;
(e) must ensure that where the stability of an adjoining building, structure or road is likely to be affected by the making of an excavation, steps are taken to ensure the stability of such building, structure or road and the safety of persons;
(f) must cause convenient and safe means of access to be provided to every excavation in which persons are required to work, and such access may not be further than six meters from the point where any worker within the excavation is working;
(g) must ascertain, as far as is reasonably practicable, the location and nature of electricity, water, gas or other similar services which may in any way be affected by the work to be performed, and must before the commencement of excavation work that may affect any such service, take the steps that are necessary to render the circumstances safe for all persons involved;
(h) must ensure that every excavation, including all bracing and shoring, is inspected—
(i) daily, prior to the commencement of each shift;
(ii) after every blasting operation;
(iii) after an unexpected fall of ground;
(iv) after damage to supports; and
(v) after rain,

by the competent person contemplated in subregulation (1), in order to ensure the safety of the excavation and of persons, and those results must be recorded in a register kept on site and made available on request to an inspector, the client, the client's agent, any other contractor or any employee;

(i) must cause every excavation which is accessible to the public or which is adjacent to public roads or thoroughfares, or whereby the safety of persons may be endangered, to be—
(i) adequately protected by a barrier or fence of at least one metre in height and as close to the excavation as is practicable; and
(ii) provided  with  warning  illuminants  or  any  other  clearly visible  boundary indicators at night or when visibility is poor,

or have resort to any other suitable and sufficient precautionary measure where subparagraphs (i) and (ii) are not practicable;

(j) must ensure that all precautionary measures stipulated for confined spaces as determined in the General Safety Regulations, 2003, are complied with by any person entering any excavation;
(k) must, where the excavation work involves the use of explosives, appoint a competent person in the use of explosives for excavation, and must ensure that a method statement is developed by that person in accordance with the applicable explosives legislation; and
(l) must cause warning signs to be positioned next to an excavation within which or where persons are working or carrying out inspections or tests.