Type C soil cannot be benched.
Appendix B does not permit an employer to bench a type C soil excavation. Therefore, it is not safe to cut steps into a slope of type C soil because the soil’s lack of cohesion is likely to cause the steps to crumble when an employee steps on them. The likelihood that the soil will crumble makes cutting steps into the excavation slope of type C soil an unsafe means of egress under §1926.651(c)(2). In this scenario, where an employee does not use a stairway, ladder, ramp or other safe means of egress, which is located against a vertical shored excavation wall, §1926.651(c)(2) requires the employer to provide a mechanism – designed to prevent the sloped soil from crumbling (such as a ladder) – for the employee to walk on, in order to provide additional support for the employee’s weight. [Source]
Type C Soil
Cohesive soil with an unconfined compressive strength of 0.5 tsf (48 kPa) or less, granular soils (including gravel, sand, and loamy sand), submerged soil or soil from which water is freely seeping, submerged rock that is not stable, or material in a sloped, layered system where the layers dip into the excavation or with a slope of four horizontal to one vertical (4H:1V) or steeper. [Source]
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