March 12

Trenching: Risk Mitigation Safety Tips

Irrigation systems supply agricultural fields with the water they need to keep crops healthy. The system is a very basic and simple concept; however, installation of irrigation systems can prove to be quite dangerous if the proper risks aren’t evaluated. Injuries incurred during an irrigation install can vary widely – from minor to fatal – so taking the proper precautions is absolutely necessary to help and prevent accidents from occurring.

The following safety tips should always be kept in mind during the trenching process of installing irrigation systems:

  • Never dig without knowing what’s underground. Throughout the USA and many other countries there are “one call centers” that will have someone come out and mark the locations of buried utilities for you, so you don’t dig them up.
  • Take it slow and easy. Rushing leads to injuries and mistakes. If you injure yourself and have to take off work for a day or two, you will end up missing a lot of work. Know your limitations, and get help for lifting or moving heavy objects. Be especially cautious with digging and operating any machinery that vibrates or pulls you. Both can stress your muscles without your realizing it. You don’t know you’re hurt until a few hours later. Wheelbarrows are another one that can get you unexpectedly. If the wheelbarrow looses balance and starts to tip it is usually best to just let go. You can reload it in a few minutes, but if you pull a muscle trying to hold it upright, it can lay you up for weeks.
  • Wear proper work attire. Wear a back brace (one of those girdles the employees wear down at the home improvement store) while lifting and digging. Wear heavy closed-toe shoes, and long pants to protect your legs.
  • Never get into a trench that is deeper than your knees, and never sit or lay in a trench. Trenches that appear stable can collapse without warning. Remember that if you are knocked unconscious you will not be able to pull yourself out.
  • And a simple but effective measure: Keep hydrated and protect your skin from the sun.
  • Don’t leave your tools lying around. There are enough things to trip over without adding more risks yourself.
  • Keep children away from the work site. They love to play in the piles of dirt, but it just isn’t safe. Lots of kids are injured each year at construction sites.

Half of the battle of staying safe at work is knowing the risks you face when walking into a work site. The above list of safety precautions is a healthy foundation for staying safe at work. However, as we all know, accidents can happen anytime and anywhere; even with the most stringent precautions. Should an accident occur, it’s important to have an insurance program in place that is built from the ground up to address the unique risks of irrigation system installation.

For more information on irrigation insurance, visit IrrigationPro.

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