What is the difference between an Excavation and a Trench?

  • OSHA defines an EXCAVATION as any man-made cut, cavity, trench, or depression in the earth’s surface formed by earth removal. This can include excavations for anything from cellars to highways.
  • A TRENCH is defined as a narrow underground excavation that is deeper than it is wide, and no wider than 15 feet.

What are the dangers of trenching and excavation operations?

  • Trenching and excavation work presents serious hazards to all workers involved.
  • Cave-ins pose the greatest risk and are much more likely than other excavation-related accidents to result in worker fatalities.
  • Other potential hazards include:
    • Falls
    • Falling loads
    • Hazardous atmospheres
    • Incidents involving mobile equipment

Excavation Pre-planning

Why is it important to preplan the excavation work?

  • No matter how many trenching, shoring, and backfilling jobs you have done in the past, it is important to approach each new job with the utmost care and preparation.
  • Many on-the-job accidents result directly from inadequate initial planning!!
    • Slows down the operation
    • Adds to the cost
    • Increases the possibility of a cave-in or other excavation failure

How can you avoid hitting underground utility lines and pipes during excavation work?

  • Call 811 – DIG SAFE
  • Make sure to notice DIG SAFE markings
  • If ever unsure – STOP AND ASK!!!!! Never assume!

What are some of the dangers around me that I should be aware of?