OSHA and Safety


A Guide To OSHA's Trenching and Excavation Safety Regulations

Trenching and excavations are serious jobs that require meticulous safety precautions. Because you and your crew are working inside of a man made cut in the earth, it is important to take all possible measures to prevent cave-ins. From excavation risks to trench box rentals, here is what you should know.

What Are The Dangers?

According to OSHA, cave-ins pose more risk than any other hazard, as they are more likely to cause fatalities. With one cubic yard of soil weighing as much as a car, OSHA warns that "an unprotected trench is an early grave. Do not enter an unprotected trench." Other dangers include falls, environmental hazards, falling loads or objects, and accidents caused by moving equipment.

What Are The Safety Requirements?

OSHA lists the following requirements:

What Equipment Can I Use?

OSHA recommends sloping, shoring, and shielding. Sloping is when you cut the trench wall on an angle away from the excavation. Shoring is when you install a shoring system to prevent the dirt wall from caving in. Shielding involves installing a trench box or other supports to protect workers in case of a cave-in. This equipment is available through services such as trench box rental.

Source: OSHA Fact Sheet

Mitch Post

Mabey Training Manager

  • Training and Education
  • USA
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