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Piling on safety

June 1, 2011

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The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health provides the following regulations to protect the safety of workers engaged in pile driving:

  • A supervised danger zone must be established around the operating hammer if employees are cutting, chipping or welding.
  • A blocking device or other effective means that can support the weight of the hammer should be provided to secure the hammer in the leads. This device should be used at all times while employees are working under the hammer.
  • All pressurized lines and hoses should be secured with a quarter-inch alloy steel chain or wire rope rated to a 3,250-pound capacity.
  • Leads should be provided with the continuous ladder or horizontal bracing uniformly spaced at intervals no greater than 18 inches. The leads should be equipped with adequate anchorages for use with fall protection equipment. The equipment operator should engage all brakes and necessary safety switches to prevent uncontrolled motion of the equipment.
  • Provide fall protection when workers are exposed to unguarded platforms or walkways higher than 7.5 feet.
  • Employees should not ride the hammer, crane load block or overhaul ball. Before workers are permitted to work on these components, sheet piling should be firmly stabilized.
  • Workers exposed to a drowning hazard must be provided with adequate floatation gear, such as ring buoys or a lifesaving boat.
  • The engine or winch operator should receive signals only from a designated signaler. When a worker is aloft in the leads, the hammer should not be moved except on the signal of that worker.
  • A hammer stop block is required.
  • Two steam or compressed air shut-off valves are required, one within reach of the hammer operator.

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