Fatalities from excavation and trenching doubled in 2016, over the previous five years. In response, OSHA is working to raise awareness and provide safety resources on the related hazards as a top priority in 2018.
To help spread the word and assist OSHA in reaching its goal to reduce excavation and trenching hazards by 10% in 2018, CORE Safety developed a free printable Trench Safety Poster for posting on job sites. Download it now, and share the following checklist of ways to ensure excavation and trenching safety with your teams.
Trench Safety Best Practices
A person of authority, who has completed Trenching Safety Training, must be present at all times while trench work is occurring to inspect for existing or potential hazards and ensure prevention or correction of said hazards.
All workers involved with the trench work must be trained to recognize existing or potential hazards and informed of how to protect themselves from cave-ins.
Analyze the soil to determine soil type. If you are not sure of soil type, assume it is Type C.
Slope trench sides appropriate to the type of soil or provide shoring or trench box.
Locate all underground utilities prior to digging.
Increase slope of trenches that are exposed to vibrations of construction equipment, construction operations, traffic, etc.
Keep stored materials at least 2 feet from the edge of the trench.
Keep excavated material at least 2 feet from the edge of the trench.
Don’t allow water to accumulate in the trench.
Professional engineering is required for trenches 20 feet deep or deeper.
Provide a ladder, steps, or ramp within 25 feet of travel from anywhere in the trench.
Keep heavy loads of all kinds as far away from the trench as possible.