OSHA is supporting June as Trench Safety Month by re-emphasizing the reduction of trenching and excavation hazards as a top priority. OSHA has published Trenching and Excavation Safety to aid employers and workers in recognizing and controlling some of the hazards associated with trenching and excavation.
The primary hazard of trenching and excavation is employee injury from collapses, or cave-ins. To prevent cave-ins, OSHA recommends:
- SLOPE or bench trench walls
- SHORE trench walls with supports, or
- SHIELD trench walls with trench boxes
Soil analysis is important in order to determine appropriate sloping, benching and shoring. Employers and workers should also:
- Ensure there is a safe way to enter and exit a trench
- Keep materials away from the edge of a trench
- Look for standing water or atmospheric hazards
- Never enter a trench unless it has been properly inspected
Visit OSHA’s Trenching and Excavation website for more information and resources.