OSHA has made reducing trenching and excavation hazards the Agency’s Priority Goal. Trench collapses, or cave-ins, pose the greatest risk to workers’ lives. To prevent cave-ins:
- SLOPE or bench trench walls
- SHORE trench walls with supports, or
- SHIELD trench walls with trench boxes
Employers should also ensure there is a safe way to enter and exit the trench. Keep materials away from the edge of the trench. Look for standing water or atmospheric hazards. Never enter a trench unless it has been properly inspected.
OSHA resources include: