Eiffel 101: Pile Driving Safety Checklist

If there is a soft layer of soil at the surface of a construction site, or if an exceptionally heavy building is being built, the soil will not be able to support the weight of a new structure. Because of this, foundation piling must be used. The purpose of foundation piling is to transfer the weight of a structure from the soil’s surface to the stronger soil or rock below. This is achieved through the use of piles, which can be steel pile, beams, or pipe pile that are drilled or driven into the ground. In this article, we will focus on a safety checklist for piles that are installed by driving using a pile driver.

Pile Driving Safety Checklist: Before Beginning

Before beginning a project there are a few initial steps that should be taken to ensure everyone understands the objective and a plan is in place in case of emergency.

  • Check that a first-aid kit is onsite and fully stocked.

  • Make sure that at least one employee is trained in first-aid in case of emergency.

  • Research and provide clear, written directions to the nearest hospital in case of emergency.

  • Provide the phone numbers of people who should be contacted if an accident occurs.

  • Meet with employees to explain the safety rules. Print out a copy of the rules for the employees to take home and review.

  • Have the superintendent review the project’s safety information, operating plan and OSHA recordkeeping requirements.

Steel beams: wide flange, h-oile, and more

Pile Driving Safety Checklist: Site Conditions

Site conditions play a large role in the overall safety of a pile driving working environment.

  • Keep work areas free of loose materials or debris.

  • Walkways that are more than four feet off the ground or in a hazardous location should feature a secure handrail with a toe board.

  • Drain any muddy area onsite (when possible) and provide plank runways across trenches if necessary.

  • Sand slippery walkways.

  • Salt walkways in freezing weather.

  • If night work is to occur, construction areas should be properly lit.

Pile Driving Safety Checklist

By following a proper safety checklist, workers can stay safe during pile driving operations. Safety rules include:

  • Only allow employees to work with piles after they have been properly trained.

  • Never allow workers under the hammer or core at any time.

  • Always lift piles using proper slings or machinery.

  • Pick up piles from the side opposite of other operations.

  • Clear workers from the area when piles are hoisted into the leads.

  • Do not undermine the rig or an adjacent structure when jetting or pre-excavating for piles.

  • Clean augers of clods of earth and rocks as they are hoisted out of the ground.

  • Cover or barricade holes made in advance to prevent a possible fall.

  • Release the core sling on both sides when changing capblocks or a hammer cushion. Keep workers away from leads when capblocks or a hammer cushion is being changed.

  • Keep the hammer under control during driving by keeping a slight pressure on the hammer drum brake.

  • Shut off the hammer immediately if the pile breaks or start running into the ground.

  • Watch the hammer hose closely when lifting the hammer at the end of driving, ensuring it does not catch.

  • Hold any hose loop below the leaders away from them until the hose is clear.


Common Steel Pile Beam Sizes that Apply to Pile Driving

Steel pile beams come in a wide range of sizes and styles, including wide flange and h-pile. Some of the most common sizes include:

  • W8: W8x18, W8x21, W8x24, W8x28, W8x31, W8x35, W8x40, W8x48, W8x58, W8x67

  • W10: W10x22, W10x26, W10x30, W10x33, W10x39, W10x45, W10x49, W10x54, W10x60, W10x68, W10x77, W10x88, W10x100, W10x112

  • W12: W12x26, W12x30, W12x35, W12x40, W12x45, W12x50, W12x53, W12x58 ,W12x65, W12x72, W12x79, W12x87, W12x96, W12x106, W26x120, W12x136, W12x152, W12x170, W12x190, W12x210, W12x230, W12x252

  • W14: W14x22, W14x26, W14x30, W14x34, W14x38, W14x43, W14x48, W14x53, W14x61, W14x68, W14x74, W14x82, W14x90, W14x99, W14x109, W14x120, W14x132, W14x145, W14x159, W14x176, W14x193, W14x211, W14x233, W14x257, W14x283

  • W16: W16x26, W16x31, W16x36, W16x40, W16x45, W16x50, W16x57, W16x67, W16x77, W16x89, W16x100

  • W18: W18x35, W18x40, W18x46, W18x50, W18x55, W18x60, W18x65, W18x71, W18x76, W18x86, W18x97, W18x106, W18x119, W18x130, W18x143, W18x158, W18x175, W18x192, W18x211, W18x234

  • W21: W21x44, W21x50, W21x57, W21x58, W21x55, W21x62, W21x68, W21x73, W21x83, W21x93, W21x101, W21x111, W21x122, W21x132, W21x147, W21x166, W21x182, W21x201, W21x223, W21x248, W21x275

  • W24: W24x55, W24x62, W24x68, W24x76, W24x84, W24x94, W24x103, W24x204, W24x117, W24x131, W24x146, W24x162, W24x176, W24x192, W24x207, W24x229

  • W27: W27x84, W27x94, W27x102, W27x114, W27x129, W27x146, W27x161, W27x178, W27x194

  • W30: W30x90, W30x99, W30x108, W30x116, W30x124, W30x132, W30x148

  • W33: W33x118, W33x130, W33x141, W33x152, W33x169

  • W36: W36x135, W36x150, W36x160, W36x170, W36x182, W36x194, W36x210, W36x232, W36x256

  • HP8: HP8x36

  • HP10: HP10x42, HP10x57

  • HP12: HP12x53, HP12x63, HP12x74, HP12x84, HP12x89, HP12x102, HP12x117

  • HP14: HP14x73, HP14x89, HP14x102, HP14x117

  • HP16: HP16x88, HP16x101, HP16x121, HP16x141, HP16x162, HP16x183

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