The primary hazard of trenching and excavation work is employee injury from a cave-in. Before workers enter a trench, a soil analysis should generally be conducted to determine the appropriate employee protection methods such as sloping, benching, shoring or shielding. Employers should also consider potential struck-by hazards associated with heavy equipment, falling loads, and public vehicular traffic in close proximity to the excavation operations. Also consider potential hazards from undermining sidewalks and buildings. Other unsafe conditions that may be encountered include hazardous atmospheres and electrical hazards from overhead and underground power lines. These five key trench safety tips will help keep workers safe:

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