eTools Home:Construction Users Guide | Glossary | Bibliography | Credits
OSHA Construction eTool

Electricalbullet

Fallsbullet

Struck-Bybullet

Trenchingbullet

Scopebullet

SH Programbullet
Trenching and Excavation:
Unsafe Spoil-Pile Placement

Am I In Danger?

Excavated material (spoils) at your site are hazardous if they are set too close to the edge of a trench/excavation. The weight of the spoils can cause a cave-in, or spoils and equipment can roll back on top of workers, causing serious injuries or death

How Do I Avoid Hazards?

Provide protection by one or more of the following:

  • Set spoils and equipment at least 2 feet back from the excavation.

  • Use retaining devices, such as a trench box, that will extend above the top of the trench to prevent equipment and spoils from falling back into the excavation.

  • Where the site does not permit a 2-foot set back, spoils may need to be temporarily hauled to another location.
Unsafe spoil pile next to a trench
The spoil pile is required to be at least 2 feet from the edge of the trench and/or retained to prevent it from falling into the trench.


Safety Bulletin Sign
Unsafe Spoil-Pile Placements

Book Additional Information:


eTools Home:Construction Users Guide | Glossary | Bibliography | Credits