1 Competent PersonAn inspection shall be conducted by the competent person prior to the start of work and as needed throughout the shift.
2 DaysContact utilities two days before excavation.
2 FeetSpoils, surcharge or other material or equipment must be set back two feet from the excavation.
2 FeetExcavating no more than two feet below members of support or shield is permitted, if the system is designed for the full depth of the trench, and there is no loss of soil from behind or below the system.
3 FeetLadders must extend not less than three feet above the top of the trench.
4 FeetStairways, ladders or ramps are needed in excavations four feet or more in depth.
4 FeetIn excavations greater than four feet, the atmosphere must be tested if oxygen deficiency or hazardous atmosphere does or is reasonably expected to exist.
5 FeetExcavations less than five feet in depth do not require a protective system if the competent person examines and determines there is no potential for a cave-in.
6 FeetGuardrails are required on walkways that are over excavations six feet or more above lower levels.
18 InchesTrench boxes must extend 18 inches above the top of the vertical sides of the excavation.
19.5 PercentA minimum of 19.5% oxygen must be present before employees can enter an excavation greater than four feet in depth.
20 FeetSloping, benching, or timber and aluminum hydraulic shoring for excavations greater than 20 feet must be designed by a registered professional engineer.
24 HoursSimple slope excavations in Type A soil that are open for 24 hours or less (short-term) and that are 12 feet or less in depth must have a maximum allowable slope one-half horizontal to one vertical.
25 FeetA ladder, ramp or other safe means of egress shall be located in trench excavations that are four feet or more in depth so as to require no more than 25 feet of lateral travel for employees.

Download a printable PDF and recording form here.

Members can download the audio version of this toolbox talk here.

Davis Bacon Statewide Residential Wage Survey Info

Federal Davis Bacon is requesting wage and project data submissions for any/all public and private work performed from Aug. 1, 2017 through July 31, 2018 on, or incidental to, residential projects (defined as) for the construction, alteration, or repair of single family houses or apartment buildings of no more than four (4) stories in height. This includes all incidental items such as site work, parking areas, utilities, streets and sidewalks.

Here’s the survey notice.

The results of this survey will be used for setting Indiana residential wage settings for the next 10 years, which means all HUD and other housing, apartment, dorm construction and incidental utilities.

Here’s the news release with details.

The Davis Bacon requested wage and project information can be submitted electronically or by mail.

Many Indiana contractors should have received this background letter from the Indiana Laborers.

The Laborers tell us that ABC of Indiana/Kentucky and other associations are attempting to get as much information submitted as possible, so they can get ABC wage rates set on qualifying projects.

Note: The Davis-Bacon and related Acts require the Secretary of Labor to determine the prevailing wage rates for corresponding classes of laborers and mechanics on projects in the area which are of a “character similar” to the proposed contract work to which the determination will be applied.

If you have any questions, contact ICI’s George Sheraw at (317) 634-7547.

Spring Joint Cooperative Wrap-up – Subcommittee Updates

ICI and INDOT Bridge Subcommittee members have worked together since late fall 2015 to generate revised specification language in §702.14(b), Falsework Removal, to achieve a manageable falsework removal wait period and flexural strength requirement. INDOT is finalizing a unique special provision for release this spring.

Utility-related change orders were below one percent of the construction bid in 2015, as compared to two percent of construction bid in 2010. Recurring Special Provision 107-R-169 (9/1/2015), Statements About Existing Conditions of Utilities, Additional Right-of-Way, and Encroachments, contains clear utility involvement statements.

INDOT directs utility coordinators to be proactive throughout a project – from the pre-construction meeting through project completion – and especially pushes advocates participation in progress meetings.

Gas Lines — Don’t Try to Repair Them

Let’s talk about fixing natural gas lines – especially the half-inch to one-and-one-half inch size plastic lines commonly used as service feeds to residential homes. Gas utility owners state very clearly that they only want their own personnel to repair damaged or leaking gas lines.

Natural gas comes from the earth and is a byproduct of the decomposition of plants trapped beneath its surface. This gas is mainly methane, the most simple hydrocarbon molecule. It has a heat value of about 1000 BTU per cubic foot of gas. By comparison, propane has a much higher heat value of about 2500 BTU per cubic foot of gas. While natural gas does burn, it isn’t the most efficient in terms of heat generated. This helps us understand the explosive characteristics of natural gas. It’s important to understand that it takes a lot of oxygen to sustain the burning or the explosion of natural gas.

Natural gas burns or explodes within a very narrow concentration range. According to gas utilities, the flammable range of natural gas is between four and 15 percent gas in air. This means if there is less than four percent gas in the air, it’s too lean to burn. If there is more than 15 percent gas in the air, it’s too concentrated to burn; the concentration is too rich (similar to flooding your car’s engine with too much gas). This narrow range might make you feel like natural gas isn’t dangerous. That is exactly why the gas companies don’t want anyone other than their employees to do anything around a leaking gas line. It’s more dangerous than you think, and it’s hard to know if the gas concentration is in a relatively safe zone. Gas company personnel use special gas monitors to determine the gas concentration in the air and then determine how and when to respond.

When the gas concentration is within the four and 15 percent range, it only takes a spark to ignite the gas. The most common spark source is static electricity. The simple friction of gas flowing through a line, or rubbing your hands against your jacket can build up a static charge that could spark an explosion.

Gas companies train personnel in grounding lines and tools to prevent static discharge. Utility personnel are also experienced at using gas concentration meters.

It’s important not to damage gas lines. Utilities designed the one-call system to help locate lines so you can avoid them while you’re working. Following the regulations about safe-dig zones and using hand tools, vacuums or hydro techniques to expose lines also helps prevent damage. However, even with care, we can sometimes damage a gas line. If this happens, don’t attempt to repair it yourself. Call the gas company, and let their crews handle it.