Trenching and Excavation
Hazards and Solutions
The primary hazard of trenching and excavation is employee injury from collapse. Soil analysis is important in order to determine appropriate sloping, benching, and shoring. Additional hazards include working with heavy machinery; manual handling of materials; working in proximity to traffic; electrical hazards from overhead and underground power-lines; and underground utilities, such as natural gas. The following references aid in recognizing and controlling some of the hazards associated with trenching and excavation.
- Special Emphasis: Trenching and Excavation. OSHA Directive CPL 02-00-069 [CPL 2.69], (September 19, 1985). Establishes a National Emphasis Program (NEP) for the programmed safety inspection of trenching and excavation operations.
- Trenching and Excavation Safety. OSHA Publication 2226, (2015). Highlights key elements of the standards and describes safe work practices that can protect workers from cave-ins and other hazards.
- Working Outdoors in Warm Climates). OSHA Fact Sheet, (September 2005).
- Trenching and Excavation Safety. OSHA Fact Sheet (Publication 3476), (2011). A Spanish version is also available.
- Working Safely in Trenches. OSHA QuickCard™ (Publication 3243), (2011). A Spanish version is also available.
- Protect Workers in Trenches. OSHA Poster (Publication 3215), (2018). A Spanish version is also available.