Weekly Tool Box Talk – Excavation/Trenching

Here’s a quick and dirty safety talk on trenching and excavating. Make sure your trenches and excavation sites are properly equipped, and you have properly trained personnel in place to prevent cave-ins and to ensure safety for all.

Before we begin digging…..

The employer must designate a “competent person” who knows about soil analysis, the use of protection systems and the requirements of the OSHA standard. He must also be given the authority to take action when there is a safety issue at the site. This person may be one of your superintendents.

In trenches 4 feet or more deep, ladders, stairways, ramps or other safe means of getting out must be available. You should not have to go more than 25 feet to gain access to a way of getting out of the trench.

When working near public traffic, warning vests with reflectorized or high visibility material should be provided by the employer and worn by the employee.

Employees are not permitted to work under loads.

We must perform daily inspections of the excavation to ensure employee safety.

We cannot excavate more than 2 feet below support systems.

Be sure to keep excavated materials and debris 2 feet back from the edge of excavations.

A registered professional engineer will be required for assistance when:

The excavation is >5’deep with a slope less than 1½ to 1 plus the width of the bucket.
Excavation is over 20 feet deep.
A self constructed trench box/shield is used.
A sheeting or shoring system is used.

The only exception to the above rules are when working in:

Solid virgin rock with no cracks.
The trench is less than 5 feet deep.
Sloping 1 ½ to 1 plus the width of the bucket, if less than 20 feet deep.