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Limits and difficulties in applying the Quebec safety code for the construction industry : the case of excavations


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Lan, André et Arteau, Jean. 1997. « Limits and difficulties in applying the Quebec safety code for the construction industry : the case of excavations ». In Construction safety affected by codes and standards : proceedings of a session sponsored by the Design Loads on Structures During Construction Standards Committee and the Performance of Structures During Construction Technical Committee of the Structural (Minneapolis, MN, USA, Oct. 5-8, 1997) pp. 16-34. Reston, Va : American Society of Civil Engineers.

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In Quebec, construction work safety is governed by the Quebec Safety Code for the construction industry. This Code provides a basic set of rules for preventing work accidents. It is an effective and necessary tool, but like any tool, it also has some limits. On the one hand, confusion may occur between risk prevention and compliance with regulations, and on the other, some articles of the Code are more difficult to apply. For example, for excavation, article 3.15.3 gives the criteria for determining whether shoring is required or not. A first criterion is whether there is a worker at the bottom of the excavation; in the event of a landslide, the workers at the top of the slope may be injured. A second criterion is the presence of sound rock; the definition of sound rock (whether it can be excavated by explosive or not) is an excavation contractor’s definition and not a geomechanical definition applicable to the problem of slope stability. A third criterion mentions a so-called safe slope of 45o without mentioning the type of soil and the presence of a water table. These contradictions create a lot of confusion and may lead to accidents. The Code should be more specific about the required slopes in relation to the types of soil and the conditions of the water table. The Safety Codes from Canadian and American regulatory organizations all take into account the nature of the soils in the maximum slopes, while, in its current version, the Quebec Code does not mention this important information. A proposal for soil classification, taking into account the presence of soft sensitive clay in Quebec, is presented.

Item Type: Conference proceeding
ISBN: 0784402809 ; 9780784402801
Additional Information: ASCE National Convention and Construction Congress
Arteau, Jean
Affiliation: Autres
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2016 18:29
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2019 16:22

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