What Are Spoils in Construction: Types and Management

June 12, 2024

"Removing spoils from the excavation under the 39th Street bridge in preparation for the construction of the B/C tunnel approach structure. (CH058A, 11-01-2019)" by MTA C&D - EAST SIDE ACCESS is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/.

Spoil piles, an integral part of most construction sites, consist of topsoil or subsoil removed during excavation and temporarily stored. These piles are also referred to by several names, such as Soil Piles, Stock Piles, or Storage Piles.

Types of Spoil Piles

Temporary Spoil

Temporary spoil must be placed no closer than 2 feet (0.61 meters) from the excavation's edge. This measurement is taken from the nearest base of the spoil, not the crown. Ensuring correct placement is crucial for several reasons:

  • Safety Considerations: Prevents loose rocks or soil from falling into the trench, thereby protecting employees.
  • Water Channeling: Should be positioned to direct rainwater away from the excavation site.
  • Stability: Must be placed to prevent accidental sliding, running, or falling back into the excavation.

Permanent Spoil

Permanent spoil piles are placed further away compared to temporary spoil. They are often created for specific construction elements, such as underpasses or buried utilities. Proper placement is essential due to several factors:

  • Usage Context: They are strategically used for long-term infrastructure projects.
  • Compliance Issues: Incorrect placement can violate horizontal-to-vertical ratio requirements per OSHA guidelines.
  • Impact on Soil and Slope: Can change undisturbed soil to disturbed soil, affecting slope requirements.

OSHA Guidelines

OSHA’s “Excavations: Hazard Recognition in Trenching and Shoring” provides comprehensive safety guidelines for handling spoil piles. These regulations are designed to mitigate risks and ensure safe construction practices.

Best Practices in Managing Spoil Piles

Effective management of spoil piles involves adherence to safety regulations and regular inspections. Key practices include:

  • Ensuring proper placement to comply with safety regulations and prevent workplace accidents.
  • Regularly inspecting spoil pile positioning to maintain compliance and operational efficiency.

Industry Experience

Organizations like Ron Meyer & Associate Excavating, Inc. boast over 40 years of expertise in underground and commercial construction. Experienced staff and well-maintained equipment are crucial for reliable excavating services.

Proper management of spoil piles is crucial for safety and compliance in construction projects. Adhering to OSHA guidelines can significantly mitigate the risks associated with spoil piles.

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