Trenching and excavation work

Trenching and excavation work creates many hazards which can prove fatal to the
employees doing the work. Excavation are any man-made cuts, cavity, trench or
depression in the earth's surface formed by earth removal. A trench is defined
as a narrow excavation that is deeper than it is wide, but no wider than 4,5
meter. Cave-ins are perhaps the most dangerous trenching hazard and can be
minimized or prevented by protective systems such as shielding (trench boxes)
or benching, sloping and shoring. But other potential hazards exist including
falls, falling loads, hazardous atmospheres, vehicular traffic and operating

The US-American Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) has
published some general trenching and excavation safety rules:

  • Keep spoils and other surcharge loads at least 0.6 meters from edges.

  • Keep mobile equipment away from edges; use signals, barricades or stop logs.

  • Locate underground utilities before excavating; approach them with caution.

  • Test for hazardous atmospheres, low oxygen, flammability and toxicity.

  • Inspect trenches prior to the start of each shift and as needed throughout
    the shift.

  • Inspect trenches following rainstorms and other hazard-increasing

  • Do not work under loads and stand clear of vehicles being loaded and and unloaded.

More info

AplusA-online.de - Source: U.S. American Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration