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AdvLandscapeLLC
03-28-2011, 08:54 PM
Does anybody here use a liability agreement prior to starting any excavation work on site? I absolutely would for an extensive job but i'm questioning whether or not to do one on a quick 1-2 hour job tomorrow? and also are there any very key points in which you put in your agreements?

wanabe
03-28-2011, 09:03 PM
Did you not call the locate service? Do you not have liability insurance?

AdvLandscapeLLC
03-28-2011, 09:05 PM
CBYD has already marked the site, i have full liability and property insurance for the work in which i do

AdvLandscapeLLC
03-28-2011, 09:11 PM
my biggest concern is that the customer simply wants me to open a hole along his foundation to allow him to do repairs on his foundation and then return in the afternoon to close it up. My concern is the time away from the hole and being responsible for the open hole. What i was thinking was an agreement set up something like this;


If the customer wishes to have Advanced Landscaping Services LLC excavate a trench, hole, or any below grade area. We are not responsible for that excavation once we leave the site. Once we leave the property care of the above mentioned excavated area will be the responsibility of the property owner.
DATE: _____/______/______
EXCAVATION OPENED:________hrs
EXCAVATION COMPLETED TIME: _________hrs
EXCAVATION TURNED OVER TO PROPERTY OWNER: __________hrs
EXCAVATION CLOSED: _________hrs

and have a signature from the customer in understanding and at the time the hole is turned over to him. I just dont want to be liable for a fall when i'm not there. Its a 3'deep by 15' long trench nothing crazy.

wanabe
03-29-2011, 07:18 AM
I would put in there that the homeowner is responsable for fencing the area and that you will not be held liable for any structure damage. Once seen a old house that they were digging along and the basment wall gave way. Needless to say the house came down and it was a ugly court battle.

AWJ Services
03-29-2011, 08:11 AM
If the excavated area is for Human entry into the area and it is not dug/shored according to osha standards you will be held liable if anyone is hurt while in excavated area regardless of any paper work you may want them to sign. Property damage would fall into a different category.

Dirt Digger2
03-29-2011, 05:57 PM
OSHA wouldn't be involved because the homeowner is not a paid employee

if the trench were to collapse and the guy get hurt a lawsuit would be sure to follow I am sure...but OSHA wouldn't be involved because it doesn't deal with an employee

ksss
03-29-2011, 06:30 PM
It would seem like a good idea on the surface. The only issue would be balancing your liability with the customers ease of doing work with you. This would seem rather simple and likely wouldn't cause issues.

AWJ Services
03-29-2011, 08:44 PM
OSHA wouldn't be involved because the homeowner is not a paid employee

if the trench were to collapse and the guy get hurt a lawsuit would be sure to follow I am sure...but OSHA wouldn't be involved because it doesn't deal with an employee

Yes but OSHA standards will be used in the lawsuit.

74inchShovel
03-29-2011, 08:49 PM
I would not be so worried about getting sued as I would be about preventing any accidents in the first place. Anything over 4' deep slope out at 1 to 1 or greater depending on soil classification. Sending anyone in a ditch that is unsafe is foolish at best,at worst a fatality.

RockSet N' Grade
03-29-2011, 10:34 PM
All interesting points of view.......and that is why God made attorney's. If something goes wrong, expect to hire a real real good one and expect to lose. The business of excavation/heavy equipment is not a favorite in the public's eye. Ignorance of the law and doing just what the homeowner wants does not exempt you from any liability from the hole that you dug, after all, you are the professional. You are held to professional standards. That hole is yours from start to finish regardless of your agreement stating otherwise. Dig it to code or better, provide a ladder, barricade it off, take plenty of pictures and have your agreement signed........that is the best you can do, but at the end of the day, if someone gets hurt - you will without question be asked to pay.

RockSet N' Grade
03-29-2011, 10:43 PM
another point - the hole you dig will not just be 3' deep. It will be measured from the deepest point to the height of your spoils pile that is normally stacked right next to the trench. There was mention that OSHA would not be involved - that is incorrect. I learned this the hard way and it is not pretty........If you see some chick in a pink hard hat, clean work boots that have only seen the clean floors of StarBucks and the Library where she has memorized the entire Code book, you will understand the power of beaurocaratic pencil pushers who know nothing about the real world - except to suck your pocketbook dry......

AWJ Services
03-30-2011, 08:07 AM
I would not be so worried about getting sued as I would be about preventing any accidents in the first place. Anything over 4' deep slope out at 1 to 1 or greater depending on soil classification. Sending anyone in a ditch that is unsafe is foolish at best,at worst a fatality.

The accepted standards for construction saftey are set by OSHA.

AWJ Services
03-30-2011, 08:11 AM
I will add that my point was to bring attention to the fact that all jobs have Liability and there is no way around it in todays world.

AdvLandscapeLLC
03-30-2011, 12:39 PM
I appreciate all the help guys, What i ended up doing was having him sign a liability agreement for the services which is standard on most of my contracts for landscaping and also came up with an open hole policy where i signed over the site to the homeowner which included a description of the policy a time of turnover etc... I marked out all the holes with caution tape and cones and documented the marking with digital photos. Most all my holes where 4' deep and cut back a little wider than normal and benched it to make access\egress easier and safer. I pushed the spoil pile back farther from the edge just for reassurance. Everything went well on the job and the property owner was very pleased. I know that document isnt everything but if something happened and it did go to court my insurance would cover me and also see that it wasnt a case of gross negligence. :usflag:

RockSet N' Grade
03-30-2011, 04:06 PM
Adv.......nice. A lot of guys would have not taken the extra effort...it always pays off in the long run.

AdvLandscapeLLC
03-30-2011, 07:27 PM
I refuse to be one of those guys in the industry that tries to cut corners and be one of "those hacks" do i know everything? not by any means but I think with time and continuing my education in books, on jobs, making small mistakes and learning from them everything will eventually pan out. I appreciate everyones help on this. Hopefully one of these days everything will take off and I can get into the full size equipment world but until then this will make do.