Trenching and Excavation Safety, What You Need to Know

Trenching and Excavation Safety, What You Need to Know

There are numerous trenching and excavation safety requirements set by OSHA. This is no surprise, as trenching and excavation are among the most dangerous construction operations. OSHA defines excavation as any man-made cut, cavity, trench, or depression in the Earth’s surface formed by earth removal. On the other hand, trench is a narrow excavation (in relation to its length) made below the surface. Read on to learn some of the key elements to enforce excavation safety.

Pre-planning Stage

No matter how much experience or how many trenching jobs an employer has done in the past, it is crucial to enter any new project with caution and preparation. So, before beginning or bidding on a job, employers should know as much as possible about the job site. Further, it is imperative they know the materials they will need to have in order to perform the work safely and in compliance with OSHA standards. Employers can complete these steps by gathering information through job site studies, observations, test borings for soil type or conditions, and consultations with local officials and utility companies.

Dangers of Trenching and Excavation

Trenching and excavation work presents hazards to everyone involved. For instance, cave-ins pose the greatest risk and often result in worker fatalities. One cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car. This means that an unprotected trench can be an early grave. Needless to say, employers must ensure that workers enter trenches only after adequate protections are in place to address and avoid cave-in hazards.

Excavation Safety Standards

The fight against fatalities on the job site begins with safety standards. Thus, operators can avoid incidents such as hitting underground utility lines. But how can they prevent such accidents during excavation work? Here are excavation safety standards that employers need to consider:

  • Determine the approximate location (s) of utility installations
  • Contact and notify the utility companies or owners involved
  • Ask utility companies or owners for the location of underground installations prior to the start of excavation work
  • Determine the exact location of underground installations by safe and acceptable means
  • Ensure that while the excavation is open, underground installations are protected

Employers need to invest in their most valued resources, their team’s safety. The excavation standards require employers to provide support systems like shoring, bracing, or underpinning. The reason behind such supports is to ensure that adjacent structures remain stable for the protection of workers.

Protective Systems

Designing a protective system to protect employees from cave-ins requires the consideration of many factors:

  • soil classification (part of preplanning also)
  • depth of cut
  • water content of soil
  • weather and climate
  • other operations in the vicinity

Employers have the liberty to choose the most practical design that will work best for them. However, whatever system they use must meet the expected performance criteria and align with OSHA and excavation safety standards.

Overhead Hazards Protection

Once safety precautions are taken at the ground level it can be easy to focus too heavily on the work below and miss the hazards overhead. Therefore, employers should also turn their focus on overhead power lines to avoid accidental contact. With Sigalarm proximity alarms, employers can guarantee safety and avoid power line contact. Make sure you contact us today and ask us about how to keep your team safe with our alarms.

Reducing Risk Exposure

Reduce Your Company’s Risk Exposure

The construction industry holds one of the highest risk quotient in the business world. So, it is needless to say that they follow regulations and equipment training thoroughly. However, companies can reduce risk exposure even more if they train their employees on different equipment and find solutions that contribute to having an even lower risk exposure on the job site. Read on to see how companies can achieve this.

Quality Training

Reducing risk exposure on the job site goes beyond knowing regulations. Employers need to consider that training must include hands on practice too. So, providing quality training that covers different types of equipment and different brands for such equipment is crucial.

“The implication is that if [construction companies] rent two comparable pieces of equipment manufactured by two different companies, [they will] need proof of training for both brands even though they operate in similar fashion.”

Garry Bartecki

So, equipment training only will not suffice, as the brand of the equipment will have an effect on its operation. And training must be offered by qualified professionals, who receive regular training as well.

Proper Certification

Why is it important to show proof of training? Because companies cannot afford to have employees who merely obtained a “passing grade” and yet are still a risk to the company and others. In other words, having a card or certificate that shows that an employee has been trained should mean something. It should prove that the employee is capable of operating different equipment (e.g. rental), thus reducing risk exposure.

Solutions to Reduce Risk Exposure

There are two main solutions that contribute to reducing risk exposure.

  • Having a master rental agreement
  • Using a single vendor consistently

Having a master rental agreement makes the rental process more efficient for companies. In addition, it helps construction companies save time in terms of chasing paperwork around. Master rental agreements allow customization of the agreement so companies can meet their control and insurance requirements.

The second solution is to contract with one vendor for a certain type of equipment. This way, companies can have their partner vendor’s equipment on their job site and avoid the risks associated with operating a unit where specific training was not provided.

Sigalarm Training

At Sigalarm we want to make sure all operators know how to properly use our proximity alarms. To that end, we have established a training course that covers all aspects of our wireless warning systems. We believe that by educating operators on how to use the proximity alarms, the level of safety increases. Construction companies should not be the only ones to provide equipment training to their employees. Operators should be familiar with not only construction equipment, but also the accessory technology that contributes to their safety and that of others. Contact us today to learn more about how to make your job site safer with our high voltage proximity alarms.

Firetruck Power Line Accidents

Fire Truck Power Line Accidents

There is a nearly endless list of equipment that can benefit from Sigalarm installations. These are vehicles with masts, such as television Electronic News Gathering vans, border patrol vehicles, and fire trucks. It’s important to note that power line contact accidents are common outside the construction industry too. So, in the case of fire truck power line contact accidents, what measures can employers take to ensure safety?

Power Line Contact Incidents

Time and time again fire trucks accidentally hit power lines, thus causing damage to the vehicle. When aerial ladders are lifted during training, routine maintenance, or emergencies, truck operators don’t always have the proper protection to prevent power line contact. But this is an important issue to address because these accidents end up being costly and can be prevented.

An example is the South Portland Fire Department incident. During training, the fire truck made contact with a power line. Because the aerial’s controls were shorted in the fire, firefighters could not move the ladder away from the power line. This resulted in the loss of the vehicle valued at $1.1M. Another fire truck power line accident happened very recently in Fort Worth. Shortly after arriving at the scene, the department’s fire truck communication mast made contact with the power lines while setting up. This contact destroyed the $1.25M vehicle.

We conclude that both Fire Departments could have benefited from proximity alarms to prevent power line contact. Also, the implementation of a strict layers of protection policy could have contributed to the safety of firefighters and the preservation of the vehicles.

Layers of Protection

While these incidents did not have any casualties, the financial loss was significant. Sigalarm proximity alarms are a tool that give repeatable warnings to equipment operators in the proximity of dangerous high voltage. However, Sigalarm products are not a substitute for vigilance and proper safety procedures. Employers should use as many layers of safety as possible to manage electrical hazards, so that if one layer fails another is in place. In this case, a Sigalarm proximity alarm could have added to the layers of protection that these Fire Department already use.

Common Installations

In order to collaborate to the safety and prevent fire truck power line accidents, Sigalarm proximity alarms are versatile when it comes to their installation. Our proximity alarms can be installed on equipment of almost any type and size. This guarantees that the vast majority of equipment has coverage and protection.

Sigalarm Safe

Sigalarm is a world leader in the manufacturing, distribution, and sales of power line warning systems. We have decades of history and experience, and our mission has always been the same: to keep individuals safe in the line of work with our proximity alarms. Contact us today and opt for safety with our products.

Aerial Equipment Safety

Aerial Equipment Safety

Accidents related to power line contact are more common than not. Whether it happens to crane operators or workers on the ground, this is a problem that Sigalarm fights to resolve. But what about the safety of those operating aerial equipment? While Sigalarm proximity alarms are not designed to work within 10 ft from power lines, it is important to address aerial equipment safety.

Aerial Equipment Training

Yes, the first step to avoid aerial equipment accidents is through training. Many workers that operate aerial equipment lack proper training. Thus, leading to injuries. The most common accidents occur with boom lifts and scissor lifts. Boom lifts cause the most accidents due to their height and horizontal reach. Whereas scissor lift accidents happen due to the condition of the job site, driving or working on uneven ground. However, regardless of proper training or not, there are ways to ensure aerial equipment safety at work sites.

Avoid Electrocutions

It is needless to say that electrocutions are involuntary. These are some of the factors that lead to aerial lift electrocution accidents:

  • Failure to wear the proper personal protection equipment
  • The lift is not set up on stable ground
  • Making contact with live power lines due to a lift tip-over

Crew members not working on power lines should always remain at least 10 ft away from them. Also, everyone on the job site should assume that all power lines are active. So, per OSHA recommendations, crew members working near or on power lines should always wear the following:

  • Insulated hard hats
  • Voltage-rated shoes
  • Rubber gloves and sleeves
  • Other protective clothing

Prevent Falls

Falls most likely occur when an aerial lift or scissor lift is hit by a crane, vehicle, or some other object. Work sites should have protection measures in place to prevent accidents, in this case falls. OSHA has lift safety training that workers can undergo. This training helps prevent aerial and scissor lift tip-overs, as well as reduce the number of accidents at the worksite.

Aerial Lift Tip-Overs

These types of accidents happen most often when the bucket cable or boom breaks. So, to avoid them, workers should refrain from doing the following:

  • Set up the aerial lift between overhead hazards
  • Exceed load capacity limits
  • Travel to a job site with an elevated lift
  • Use the lift on uneven terrain
  • Raise the platform in windy conditions

Know the Rules, Be Safe

It is no news that knowledge is power. So, crew members need to learn how to properly operate aerial equipment and know the proper steps to work safely. In addition to knowing the safety rules and how to use the equipment, workers need to use protective gear. Hard hats, safety glasses, and steel-toe boots also contribute to the safety of the crew member at the job site. And finally, employees need to abide by the mandated capacity limits of operation. Calculating the weight limit of the people operating the equipment, the tools, and bucket liners, ensure the aerial lift will be within the safe capacity limit.

Sigalarm Safe

Sigalarm works hard to provide proximity alarms that will ensure safety at the job site. While our proximity alarms are not intended to be used within 10 ft of the power line, our expertise in the matter of safety and decades of serving the community, allows us to give reliable advice to workers and construction companies on these types of accidents.

Sigalarm proximity alarms are a trusted tool for operators, TV Electronic news gathering vans, and even firefighters. Do not compromise your safety, contact us and begin your journey with Sigalarm.

Expert Tips For Avoiding Crane Accidents

Expert Tips For Avoiding Crane Accidents

Crane accidents are all too common in the construction industry, and many times they result in serious property damage, injuries, and even death. A leader in high voltage proximity alarms, Sigalarm is passionate about working hand in hand with construction workers and industry leaders to stop these devastating accidents. Read on to discover what the experts have to say about stopping crane accidents and preventing loss of life, along with our tips.

What The Crane Accident Research Says

Stopping crane-related injuries means staying abreast of the latest research. A leader in construction accident research, Dr. Jim Wiethorn is the principal engineer at Crane Group and chairman of Haag Engineering, a failure and damage consulting firm. He has spent years deconstructing incidents involving cranes in order to determine what happened and why.

According to past research, more injuries occur when people are not using the lift than when they are. Moreover, a serious lack of communication exists between crews and service providers. Dr. Wiethorn believes that bridging this gap is essential for preventing accidents. He also stresses the importance of OSHA requiring mandatory crane operator certification. Doing this is essential to keeping workers safe on the job.

Crane accidents can be prevented if multiple layers of protection are used. However, the factors that contribute to accidents need to be analyzed so employers know how to reduce risk. And some of these factors are much simpler than one may think. Dr. Wiethorn stresses the importance of paying attention to mixing crews who have not worked together and addressing how things are done at the job site. Also, safety talks focusing on the protection available must be given prior to beginning any project. Finally, the miscommunication between crane rental firms and their clients should be addressed so there are no misunderstandings.

How Sigalarm Can Help Improve Working Conditions

Recognizing that job site communication is essential, Sigalarm created its high voltage proximity alarms to warn workers and bystanders of potential power line contact. We know that accidental contact with power lines can cause machinery damage, project delays, and even human injury and death. Our alarms work by alerting users when the device detects a certain voltage. At this time, an audio or visual alarm will sound, letting the crane operator know to take action. When correctly installed, our alarms let crane operators know where it is and isn’t safe to operate machinery and stop accidents before they start.

Contact Sigalarm Today

At Sigalarm, we help bridge the communication gap between construction workers and service providers. To learn more about our services, call today or contact us online. You can also check out our product selection by visiting our online shop. We look forward to helping you protect your workers.

Avoid the Dangers of Power Lines

Avoid The Dangers Of Power Lines

Workers in the construction industry are especially vulnerable to power line accidents. From crane operators to workers on the ground, a wide range of employees run the risk of suffering an injury or fatality related to power line electrocution. Boasting more than 40 years of experience, Sigalarm manufactures multiple alarm products designed to protect workers and pedestrians from power line dangers. Learn more about our tips for staying safe below.

Mark Boundaries and Define the Work Area

If you want to help your team avoid power line dangers, start by setting clear boundaries 360 degrees around the work area. Flags and other markers are great for letting crane operators know where it is and isn’t safe to go. Be sure to check that parts of equipment like rigging and lifting accessories are also keeping an appropriate distance away.

Have a Backup Plan in Place

In the event that accidental contact does occur, you can still take steps to avoid injury or loss of life. Be sure that crane operators know to stay in the cab after making contact and instruct them to attempt to navigate machinery to safety. If the crane cannot be moved, the operator should remain inside until the lines are turned off or no other choice is available and must exit. Supervisors should take care to keep pedestrians and other workers out of the area until help arrives.

Look Into Alarm Systems

Even the most carefully designed safety procedures sometimes fail due to human error. If you want to protect your workers, consider installing one of Sigalarm’s high voltage power line warning systems. Our proximity alarms and range control warning devices are designed to prevent accidental contact with lines. By alerting workers when they come within a given proximity of live lines, these products help avoid delays, prevent accidents, and save lives.

Contact Sigalarm to Avoid Power Line Dangers

At Sigalarm, we’re committed to keeping construction workers and passers-by safe from power line injuries. Recognizing that these incidents can happen at any time, we take steps to ensure crane operators and pedestrians have the proper warning, so they can stop accidents before they start. Our products can and do save lives.

Want to learn more about our alarm products? Call today or contact the Sigalarm team online.

The Price Of Safety at Construction Sites

The Price Of Safety at Construction Sites

Once upon a time, people viewed construction site accidents as the cost of doing business. In fact, companies went so far as to build the price of accidents and injuries into job estimates, and it wasn’t uncommon for multiple workers to lose their lives in the erection of a building or bridge. Fortunately, times have changed, and modern construction businesses take greater care to protect the lives of their workers. Learn more about construction site safety and what your team can do to keep its members safe.The Price Of Safety at Construction Sites

Improving Construction Site Safety

Protecting workers on the job is an important goal and one that can be difficult to achieve. In an effort to keep costs down, many businesses attempt to cut corners; unfortunately, workers and bystanders often suffer as a result. One of the reasons managers may hesitate to invest in safety is that they can’t see the payoff of their dollars. After all, there’s no way of predicting exactly how many accidents were prevented as a result of safety training and policies. With that in mind, communities and companies have a responsibility to persuade construction managers that safety is well worth the cost.

Stopping Construction Accidents in Their Tracks

If communities want to reduce construction accident injuries, they need to devote resources to education and prevention. Managers should start by assessing current policies, considering factors like employee training, equipment maintenance, and safety products. Any problems should be addressed and corrected as soon as possible.

Additionally, construction companies can take steps to protect their workers in situations where they might come into contact with power lines. Unintended power line contact is a serious hazard in the construction world. In fact, the Center for Construction Research and Training says power line electrocution is one of the leading causes of death in the industry. Sigalarm offers several warning systems and contact alarms to alert workers when their equipment becomes perilously close to power lines. When installed by trained professionals, these products can prevent injury and even death.

Contact Sigalarm for Power Line Safety Products Built to Last

Achieving construction site safety is a challenging prospect but one well worth the effort. To learn more about Sigalarm’s products and services, call today or contact us online. Working together, we can ensure all of your construction employees stay safe on the job.


Power Line Electrocution Leading Cause of Construction Death

Power Line Electrocution Leading Cause of Construction Death

According to the Center for Construction Research and Training, power line electrocution is one of the leading causes of death in the industry. In fact, between 1992 and 2010 alone, more than 2,400 construction workers lost their lives as a result of electrocutions occurring on job sites.

A leader in power line warning systems, Sigalarm is passionate about protecting workers and bystanders alike. Learn more about how these incidents occur, along with tips for avoiding them in your business moving forward:Power Line Electrocution Leading Cause of Construction Death

Tragedy in Salem, Mass.

Last year, tragedy struck a Salem, Massachusetts, worksite when a painter died after coming into contact with live electrical wires. The man in question was painting window sills when his aerial lift became entangled in some wires. Workers were unable to get to the painter until after the National Grid managed to turn off the power in the area. The man, who was unconscious at the time of rescue, later perished at the hospital.

West Seattle Power Line Electrocution Injures Two

Unfortunately, this incident wasn’t the only one to affect workers in recent years. In 2016, two men were electrocuted after a construction crane came into contact with power lines near their job site. While the workers didn’t expire from their injuries, both men were seriously hurt in the incident.

Keeping Workers Safe on the Job

The good news is that power line electrocutions are largely preventable; that is, as long as construction companies take the necessary steps to protect their employees. At Sigalarm, we offer a wide array of high-voltage warning systems and proximity alarms intended to prevent contact with power lines and save lives. The products work by warning workers of danger when equipment enters a given area. When installed by knowledgeable professionals, these products can and do prevent injury.

Prevent Power Line Electrocution With Help From Sigalarm

With more than 41 years of industry experience, Sigalarm is proud of its history protecting workers and pedestrians alike from power line accidents. Learn more about Sigalarm’s warning alarms online or call to speak to a member of our team.

Dump Trucks And Power Lines: A Danger Waiting To Happen

Dump Trucks And Power Lines: A Danger Waiting To Happen

Even the best drivers make mistakes on the road from time to time, and truck drivers are no exception. In particular, dump truck drivers have a history of getting into accidents involving power lines. Because operators need to raise and lower the beds of these trucks frequently, they can accidentally knock down power lines. The end results are often serious damage, traffic delays, and even injuries.

Let’s take a look at a couple incidents involving dump trucks and power lines before discussing what we can do to help operators avoid these issues moving forward:Dump Trucks And Power Lines: A Danger Waiting To Happen

Past Dump Truck Incidents

Just last month, a dump truck destroyed a set of power lines in Greece, NY. The truck’s bed caught on a line and pulled an RG&E pole to the ground, resulting in a minor loss of power in the area. While the incident didn’t cause any injuries, thankfully, it was certainly inconvenient for city workers and residents alike.

Another incident occurred when a dump truck knocked down 15 utility poles in Henrietta, New York. The accident occurred because the driver, a long-time construction worker, failed to notice that his bed was raised. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the accident. However, the downed lines did trap several drivers in their vehicles for a period of two hours before rescue workers could get them out. More than 1,200 local residents suffered a loss of power.

While these incidents, fortunately, did not result in any serious injuries or loss of life, accidents involving power lines are often fatal. To that end, towns and businesses need to take steps to protect people on the road.

Contact Sigalarm for Power Line Protection

Based in Sanford, FL, Sigalarm is a leader in preventing power line accidents. We are passionate about keeping people safe in their communities and on the job. That’s why we offer a range of high-voltage warning systems and proximity alarms designed to prevent unnecessary contact with power lines. To learn more about how we can help your business or town, call today or contact our team online.

Unique Feature Series: Max. Sensitivity

Sigalarm Unique Feature Series: Max. Sensitivity

Sigalarm has been making quality high voltage proximity alarms for over 60 years. We pride ourselves on helping employers preserve expensive equipment and, most importantly, keep employees safe. Below we’ll examine the max. sensitivity feature and why it is so beneficial for Sigalarm customers.

Unique Feature Series: Max. Sensitivity

What is Max. Sensitivity?

Max. sensitivity, sometimes referred to as early warning, is present in all Sigalarm products. Legacy and wireless products are calibrated to automatically switch into max. sensitivity mode as soon as they are powered on. This feature alerts the user to the presence of even the lowest voltage detectable by the device. An audio and visual alarm will sound so that the worker can take immediate action to exit the area and remove any equipment from danger. Once the worker has identified the danger, the alarm can be reset to operate normally.

Why Max. Sensitivity is Important?

The general reason that max. sensitivity is important is, of course, that it protects employees and equipment on the job site. However, there are a specific scenarios wherein it is especially critical:

Equipment movement or repositioning: In certain work sites, equipment is moved regularly throughout the day. Due to time constraints, it may not be possible to do a full safety sweep for high voltage power lines during such moves. While safety should never be sacrificed, the max. sensitivity feature gives workers a fast way to identify possible hazards.

Concealed or hard to identify power lines: Power lines can be difficult to find and may not be visible to the naked eye. This is especially true in residential areas where trees or other objects prevent clear lines of sight. Even with partners on the ground, work teams may not be able to see a nearby high voltage power line. In these cases, max. sensitivity gives workers an extra, highly sensitive set of eyes.

Operator error: In today’s world it is easy to become distracted or forgetful. For instance, an operator may park a piece of equipment under a line and leave for lunch and when they return forget the equipment is in close vicinity to overhead lines and boom into them. Another scenario is operators are asked to jump in and help move equipment. If they had not been there previously, they might overlook being parked under dangerous overhead power lines.

Sigalarm is dedicated to developing high-quality proximity alarms. Our high voltage alarms are made in America, tested thoroughly at our Florida headquarters, and used by companies all across the country. For more information about max. sensitivity, please contact Sigalarm today. You can also visit our online shop for more details about our product line.