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Safe Ground Disturbance: What You Need to Know

Ground disturbance activities such as excavation, trenching, and drilling can have serious consequences on underground infrastructure and human safety.

As management professionals in the health and safety sector, it's our responsibility to educate ourselves on the best practices for ground disturbance and implement them in our workplaces.


Statistics and Data to Support Claims

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), ground disturbance incidents account for approximately 8% of all workplace fatalities in Canada. This is a sobering statistic that highlights the importance of taking ground disturbance activities seriously.


Another study conducted by the Canadian Common Ground Alliance (CCGA) found that approximately 60% of all incidents involving underground infrastructure in Canada are caused by ground disturbance activities.


Why it Matters

Ground disturbance activities can have severe consequences for underground infrastructure and human safety. For example, a single misstep during trenching can result in a cave-in, putting workers at risk of serious injury or death.


Moreover, ground disturbance activities can also impact the environment and disrupt services such as water, gas, and electricity. This can cause inconvenience to the public and result in costly repairs.


Practical Solutions for Ground Disturbance

The following are some practical solutions for ground disturbance activities that every company should consider:

  • Ground Disturbance 201 Course: On-Track Safety offers a Ground Disturbance 201 course in its library that provides in-depth knowledge of best practices and industry standards for ground disturbance activities. By taking this course, management professionals can ensure that their employees are properly trained and equipped to carry out ground disturbance activities safely.

  • Conduct a Site Assessment: Before starting any ground disturbance activity, it's essential to conduct a site assessment to identify any potential hazards and underground infrastructure. This can be done by using ground-penetrating radar or other equipment, or by consulting local utility companies.

  • Develop a Ground Disturbance Plan: Developing a detailed ground disturbance plan is crucial for ensuring the safety of workers and the public, as well as protecting underground infrastructure. This plan should outline the scope of work, potential hazards, emergency procedures, and contact information for local utility companies.

  • Use Protective Equipment: It's important to use appropriate protective equipment during ground disturbance activities, such as hard hats, high-visibility clothing, and safety glasses. This will help protect workers from potential hazards and improve overall safety on the job site.

  • Regular Training and Refresher Courses: Regular training and refresher courses are essential to ensure that employees are up to date on the latest best practices and industry standards for ground disturbance activities. On-Track Safety offers a range of courses in this area, including the Ground Disturbance 201 course mentioned earlier.

Real-Life Examples

Here are a few real-life examples of how proper training and implementation of best practices can prevent ground disturbance incidents:

  1. In 2020, a construction company in British Columbia implemented a comprehensive ground disturbance plan, which included regular training and refresher courses for its employees. As a result, the company was able to avoid any ground disturbance incidents, protect its workers and the public, and ensure the integrity of underground infrastructure.

  2. In 2019, a utility company in Alberta discovered an underground gas line during a routine site assessment. Thanks to the comprehensive ground disturbance plan in place, the company was able to quickly


Ground disturbance activities can pose significant hazards to workers and the public if not properly managed. By following best practices, industry standards, and implementing regular training and site assessments, you can ensure that your company is doing its part in maintaining a safe and healthy workplace. The On-Track Safety Ground Disturbance 201 course is a valuable resource for anyone looking to deepen their knowledge and understanding of this important topic. So why wait? Sign up today and take the first step towards a safer future! Remember, the safety of your workers and the public is always worth the investment.

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