Trench excavating is one if the most dangerous types of construction work on any construction site.
OSHA defines trench excavation as any type of excavated man made cut, trench or cavity in the earth caused by the excavation or removal of soil or earth.
Trench cave-ins are the greatest risk of injury to workers when working in trench excavations.
Trench safety is also keeping equipment away from trench edges and workers must keep the work area clear of unwanted debris, is prevents falls.
OSHA has a formula that is tabulated with all required safety digging depths and defines all information needed for a safe trench excavation.
OSHA requires some type of shoring when trenching in unstable soils, there are aluminum hydraulic panel type shoring, sometimes wood timber type shoring is used and a trench box type shoring can be used and moved along as the trench is excavated.
Trench sloping is another type of trench safety used when excavating trenches, there is a tabulated formula that is defined by OSHA when digging an open trench. Open trench excavating involves sloping or cutting back the trench wall at an incline angle or benching the trench walls. This type of open trenching will not be safe on deep trenching cuts, often there is not 15ft. needed to open the trench for open type trenching.
Trench excavating deeper than 5ft. will always require shoring, if excavating deeper than 14 to 20 ft. an approved registered professional engineer design maybe required when using trench protective shoring.
OSHA trench safety requires a safe access and egress to any trench excavation, ladders or sloped trench areas or other means of a safe exit for employees working in the trench excavation.
Trench safety includes locating underground utilities before excavating.
Trench safety is available at OSHA’S web site, trench shoring is available at your local rental or equipment dealer.