employing Crossing Plates On Construction Sites
As any construction foreman or supervisor managing an excavation site knows, choosing the right tools and materials is a meaningful factor in completing the job on schedule. Because excavation work can present more possible hazards to a work crew than other construction jobs, making sound planning decisions in this area is a matter of the utmost importance. One very useful piece of trench shoring equipment that has multiple uses and helps ensure site safety is a steel crossing plate.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets forth the safety regulations and standards that must be adhered to at excavation site across the industry. One of the chief concerns that OSHA has when it comes to excavations is the possible for cave-ins and fall-ins. Occurrences of this kind have been greatly reduced in recent years, but they were extremely shared in the United States in the 1970’s. While there are many strategies outlined by OSHA to further reduce the risk of cave-ins and fall-ins, crossing plates are viewed as one of the most important tools when it comes to trench safety.
One of the main benefits of crossing plates is their ability to be used in a variety of ways in and around the construction site. First off, they can provide covering that allows the safe passage of vehicles over an active portion of a trench. In road construction, employing them as permanent road plates can allow for work to continue without diverting or stopping regular traffic. Similarly, when excavations temporarily tear up pedestrian sidewalks in urban areas, laying out plates to walk on protects people from fall-in hazards.
Another shared use of steel plates is for moving the specialized excavation equipment in and out of hard-to-access areas. Construction teams often confront muddy conditions and steeply graded entry points that make driving bulldozers, backhoes and other heavy equipment very difficult. Staging steel plates as permanent roadways can help reduce work time and cut back on other inefficiencies.
When selecting the appropriate crossing plates for a specific location, it’s important to consider the size and dimensions of areas that will need to be covered throughout the project. Many large plates can weigh nearly 10,000 lbs., and will likely need to be moved multiple times throughout the job! Additionally, plates are typically made of regular steel or galvanized steel. Galvanized steel offers additional protection and traction in higher traffic areas.
Whether the goal is covering a small trench for a few days or creating an extensive permanent roadway on a long-term project, road plates offer versatile uses for many needs. But beyond their functional uses, they have become an industry-standard tool that helps to greatly enhance safety during all phases of construction.