How to Safely Excavate and Backfill

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If your company does business in civil works engineering, then you must assure that for each operation, your company follows the proper procedure to avoid inhibiting the safety of your workers. Below is the proper procedure necessary for correct excavation and backfilling.

Materials Necessary

To make sure that your company is properly prepared to do the work, you must make sure that you have the right tools. The following are the tools you need for excavation.

  • Drawings of the layout and centerline
  • Hydraulic excavator
  • Hammer
  • Pegs
  • String
  • Lime powder
  • Pick Axe
  • Shovel


To excavate properly, your men must know how far down the soil goes before it begins hitting a strong layer of rock. To do this, have the worker driving the hydraulic excavator make small pits in the ground as little tests to see when the rock layer begins. Once you have done this, you know when you must safely stop using the excavator and begin breaking up the rock.

Step two requires you to draw out the area that you will be excavating. You should have the drawings that will help you measure and lay out exactly where the excavation lines and centerlines should go. Your centerline is normally labeled by hammering down pegs on the corners and stretching string between them. The rest of the lines can be laid out through the sprinkling of lime powder. Once you have done this preparation work, your men can safely excavate the area, keeping to those drawn out lines.


You will need to know ahead of time if you will be reutilizing any of the materials that you are excavating for gardening soil, streets, etc. In that way, you can set the specific amount aside during the excavating process. This will save your workers time from not having to handle the materials twice. This material should be put in a corner or an out-of-way place that will not hinder the construction. Once again, you want to avoid having to re-do work, in this case, move the material twice.

Make sure that the backfilling has been done correctly by checking a few things along the way. You should make sure that the backfilling is being carried out layer by layer, not finishing one area completely then moving on to the next. Secondly, constantly be checking that the correct density has been attained. All professional civil contractors should have the tools for measuring density so that their work can be done correctly.