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Pile foundations are responsible for transmitting heavy concentrated loads of the superstructure to the underlying competent strata. Installation of pile foundations requires a lot of heavy-duty equipment, which makes it essential to follow the standard safety protocols.
In this article, we learn about the safety protocols that must be followed while carrying out piling works.
1. Safety Program
- All operations shall be carried out under the immediate charge of a qualified and competent foreman who shall also be responsible for the safety arrangements of the work.
- For work during the night, the lighting of at least 100 lux intensity shall be provided at the worksite.
- Every crane driver or hoisting appliance operator shall be competent to the satisfaction of the engineer-in-charge
- The personnel under the age of 21 years shall not be in charge of any hoisting machine including any scaffolding, winch, or give signals to the operator.
- In the case of deep foundations, working in compressed air requires several precautions to be taken to safeguard the workmen against severe hazards to life, compressed air disease, and related ailments.
2. Piling Rig Safety
- The pile drivers shall not be erected in dangerous proximity to electric conductors.
- If two pile drivers are to be erected at one place, these shall be separated by a distance at least equal to the most extended leg in either rig.
- The frame of the rig shall be structurally safe for all anticipated live, dead, or wind loads.
- A suitable test shall be carried out by the structural foreman whenever there is any doubt about the structural strength.
- No pile driving equipment shall be taken into use until it has been inspected and found to be safe.
- The pile drivers shall be firmly supported on heavy timber sills, concrete beds, or other secure foundations.
- The rig shall be secured with a minimum of four guys to ensure the stability to prevent accidents due to wind, storm, gales, and earthquake.
- The pile driving equipment in use shall be inspected by a competent engineer at regular intervals, not exceeding three months.
- The pile lines and pulley blocks must be inspected by the foreman for any type of defects or wear and tear, before the beginning of each shift,
- The defective parts of pile drivers, such as mechanical slings, sheaves, and hose shall be repaired only by competent persons and inspected by foreman-in-charge of the rig.
- Any air or steam equipment shall be repaired while it is in operation or under pressure.
- The hoisting ropes on pile drivers shall be made of galvanized steel.
- Easily accessible shut-off valves shall control steam and airlines.
- The hose of air and steam hammers shall be securely lashed to the hammer to prevent it from whipping if a connection breaks.
- When the hammer is not in use, it shall be in dropped position and held in place by a cleat, timber, or another suitable means.
- For every hoisting machine and every chain rig hook, shackle, swivel and pulley block used in hoisting, the safe working loads shall be ascertained.
- Regular testing shall be carried out on the hoisting machines, and the working load shall be considered as half of the tested load.
- Motor gearing, electrical wiring, transmission, and other dangerous parts of hoisting machine should be provided with adequate safeguards.
- The workers are employed on electrical installations work, which is already energized, insulating mats, and wearing apparel, such as gloves, etc., shall be made mandatory.
- When loads have to be inclined, they must be adequately counterbalanced, and the tilting device shall be secured against slipping.
- Necessary precautions shall be carried out to prevent a pile driver from overturning if a wheel breaks.
- Adequate precautions shall be carried out to prevent the hammer from missing the pile.
- To prevent the long piles and heavy sheet piling against falling, they shall be secured in place prior to piling work.
- When steam boilers are used, the safety regulations of boilers shall be strictly followed, and safety valves shall be adjusted to 7N/cm2 in excess of working pressure accurately.
3. Safety Precaution during Operation of Equipment
- The workers employed in the vicinity of pile drivers shall wear helmets conforming to accepted standards.
- The pile shall be prepared at a distance at least equal to twice the length of the longest pile from the pile driver.
- Piles being hoisted in the right should be so slung that they do not have to be swung or whip-round.
- A hand rope shall be tied to a pile that is being hoisted to guide and control its movement.
- When a pile is guided into position, workers shall not put their hands or arms between the pile and the inside guide, but shall use a rope for guiding.
- A pile shall be provided with an iron ring or cap over the driving end to prevent grooming before the pile is hoisted.
- When creosoted woodpiles are being driven, necessary precautions shall be taken to prevent workers from receiving skin or eye injuries from splashes of creosote.
- No air or steam shall be blown down until all workers are at a safe distance.
FAQS on Safety Protocols for Piling Works
When two pile drivers are to be erected at one place, these shall be separated by a distance at least equal to the most extended leg in either rig.
The safety protocols to be checked while piling are-
1. OSHA notice and safety posters are displayed
2. OSHA records are up to date
3. Materials are stored safely
4. General project housekeeping is acceptable
5. Fire extinguishers are in their allocated places and usable condition
6. First-aid kits are properly equipped and available
7. Work habits conform to good safety practices
8. Foremen are properly instructing workers in safe working conditions