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No Protective System Failure to Inspect Trench and Protective Systems Unsafe Spoil-Pile Placement Unsafe Access/Egress OSHA Standards Trenching and excavation hazards are addressed in specific standards for the construction industry. This section highlights OSHA standards, the Regulatory Agenda (a list of actions being taken with regard to OSHA standards), directives (instructions for compliance officers), and standard interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standards) related to trenching and excavation.
Excavation cave-ins cause serious and often fatal injuries to workers in the United States.
The following references aid in recognizing and evaluating trenching and excavation hazards in the workplace.
OSHA Technical Manual (OTM). OSHA Directive TED 01-00-015 [TED 1-0.15A], (1999, January 20).
Excavations: Hazard Recognition in Trenching and Shoring. Summarizes the OSHA regulations for trenching.
Site Assessment Questions Overview for Subpart P Excavations. OSHA Construction Resource Manual.
Discusses proper procedure and safe practices in excavation.
US Department of Labor (DOL), North Aurora, IL Area Office. Aurora OSHA Construction News 3.2(2002, Fall). Also available as a 454 KB PDF, 6 pages.
Provides articles discussing trenching contractors not in compliance and their top ten reasons for noncompliance with the trenching standards, reports fatalities and injuries investigated in Illinois, ranks most frequently cited standards, discusses protective systems and the competent person.
Excavations. OSHA Publication 2226, (2002). Also available as a 533 KB PDF, 44 pages. Highlights key elements of 29 CFR 1926.650, shows ways to protect employees against cave-ins, and describes safe work practices for employees.
The 100 Most Frequently Cited OSHA Construction Standards in 1991: A Guide for the Abatement of the Top 25 Associated Physical Hazards. OSHA Publication, (1995, March). Also available as a 2 MB PDF, 100 pages. Helps employers and employees identify and correct hazards related to the most frequently cited OSHA standards found on construction sites throughout the United States. PPE-related standards were found at the number 2, 7, and 19 positions on this list of 100.
Analysis of Construction Fatalities - The OSHA DataBase 1985-1989. OSHA, (1990, November). Contains valuable statistics concerning excavation and trenching related accidents.
Construction - Pocket Guide. OSHA Publication 3252-05N, (2005). Also available as a 285 KB PDF, 36 pages.
Preventing Injuries and Deaths From Skid Steer Loaders. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 98-117, (1998, February). Also available as a 395 KB PDF, 2 pages. Describes six deaths involving skid steer loaders and recommends methods for preventing similar incidents.
Preventing Deaths and Injuries From Excavation Cave-Ins. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), (1997, March 11). Provides several case reports, OSHA standards that apply to these cases, and recommended courses of action.
Excavation Work Special Trade Contractors. US Census Bureau, (1992). Provides samples of available 1992 statistics related to special trade contractors and excavation work.
Excavation Safety. VirginiaTech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). Establishes guidelines and procedures relating to safety on excavation sites at Virginia Tech. Provides information regarding best practices for related hazards and assessments and inspection guidelines.
Trenching and Shoring Procedures. Oklahoma State University, Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Manuals, (2002, March 19). Sets forth the official practices required for excavations made by Oklahoma State University employees on property owned by Oklahoma State University.
Related Safety and Health Topics Pages Construction Industry News Releases Potential trenching hazards bring fines to company in LA. OSHA Region 6 News Release, (2003, May 9). Failure to protect employees from potential trenching and excavation hazards has brought Coushatta Empire Inc. of Oakdale, La., $99,400 in proposed penalties from the Baton Rouge area office of the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
OSHA issues bulletin on hazards of striking underground gas lines. OSHA Trade News Release, (2003, June 13). Safety and Health Information Bulletin issued by OSHA advises contractors on hazards associated with striking underground gas lines during excavation work.
Hazards Associated with Striking Underground Gas Lines. OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB), (2003, May). Also available as a 24 KB PDF.
OSHA, Florida Institute for Safety and Construction Form Alliance. OSHA Region 4 News Release, (2003, June 18). OSHA and Florida Atlantic University's Institute for Safety and Construction have formed an alliance designed to assist in identifying and removing safety hazards at construction sites.
Training Excavation. Oregon-OSHA. Includes publications, fact sheets, workbooks/instructor guides, and a video/DVD library.
Excavation Safety. Oregon-OSHA Workshop 302, 2 MB PDF, 94 pages.
Provides information on excavation work in construction, discussing specific hazards resulting from excavation work and requirements for protective systems. A 3 MB PDF, 34 page instructor guide is also available.
Excavations. Oregon-OSHA Publication 2174, 2 MB PDF, 32 pages.
Describes differences between excavations and trenches, the role of a competent person, how cave-ins occur, how soil is tested, protective systems, and getting in and out of an excavation. Includes a safe practice checklist.
Trench Safety - A Tutorial for Constructors. Auburn University, Building Science Department.
Other Resources Development of Draft Construction Safety Standards for Excavation. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 83-103, (1983).
Yokel, Felix Y. Soil Classification for Construction Practice. US Department of Commerce. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1980.
Federal Registers 2001 - 08/17/2001 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request - 66:43268-43272 2001 - 05/31/2001 - "Excavations"; Extension of the Office of Management of Budget's (OMB) Approval of Information-Collection (Paperwork) Requirements - 66:29598-29599 Standard Interpretations 1994 - 01/10/1994 - Soil classification.
1992 - 10/27/1992 - Requirements for MTD to identify registered professional engineers.
1991 - 08/30/1991 - Placement of vertical hydraulic shoring members; Bending strength of plywood; use of non-structural sheeting.
1991 - 01/09/1991 - Clarification of Standards Appendix 1: Code of Safe Work Practices Trenching and Shoring Activities The federal standards can be found in the OSHA safety regulations 29 CFR1926.650 – 651 and 652.
1. Before excavation, underground utilities must be located and marked.
Adjacent structures must be stabilized, as needed, using shoring, bracing, or underpinning techniques.
2. Appropriate barricades, fences, protected walkways and signs must be provided to protect the public.
3. A competent person must be in charge of each excavation who is trained to identify hazardous conditions and who has the authority to take corrective action. The competent person must inspect excavations on a daily basis and after every rain.
4. Examine the trench or excavation before entry.
5. An access ladder or other safe access must be provided.
6. Install barricades, fences, protected walkways and/or signs to protect the public and other campus users from the excavation site.
7. Ensure all equipment and materials are in good, working condition.
8. Pre-plan the trenching, excavation operation to include safety work practices, hazard recognition procedures, and soil determination/analysis tasks.
9. Workers must be protected from cave-ins by either an adequate sloping system or an adequate support or protective system.
10. Stairs or ladders must be provided when workers enter excavations over 4 feet deep.
11. A means of exiting the trench must be provided every 25 feet.
12. Workers must stay always from any equipment loading or unloading material.
13. Excavated or other material must be retained 2 feet or more from the edge of the excavation.
14. Workers must not enter or work in trenches with hazardous atmosphere without adequate controls. Test excavation and trench sites for oxygen deficiency or the presence of other hazardous atmosphere prior to entry.
15. Workers must wear all required personal protective equipment including hardhats, safety footwear, gloves, eye protection, hearing protection, and fall protection devices, as needed.
16. Additional shoring and bracing must be provided when excavations or trenches are located adjacent to previously backfilled excavations or where excavations are subjected to vibrations from railroad or highway traffic, operation of machinery, or other sources.
17. Discourage surface crossing of trenches.
18. Protect employees from loads or objects falling from lifting or excavating equipment.
19. Keep rocks, soil, equipment, and other materials from falling into the trench.
20. Prevent water accumulation whenever possible.
21. Keep excavations and trenches open the minimum amount of time needed to complete work tasks.
22. Evaluate the excavation and trenching operation at the conclusion of the work activity.
Appendix 2: Cal/OSHA Reporting Process Checklist Cal/OSHA Reporting Process Checklist Whenever any trenching and shoring activity is about take place, Facilities Management must notify Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) as soon as possible, or at least 48 hours before the work has been scheduled. All emergency trenching work must also be reported to EH&S as soon as it has been determined that the activity will take place. The following people have been
designated as the EH&S Department contacts:
The following information must be provided to EH&S when notifying them about
trenching and shoring activities:
1. Has the Hazard Assessment and Trench Entry and Authorization Form (Appendix C) been completed?
2. Who is the Competent Person on site?
5. What method of trench protection is being used?
6. What are the results of the soil analysis?
This form is used in determining the competency of UC Irvine employees on the topic of Trenching and Shoring. All employees being considered as a Competent Person should be able to show and demonstrate knowledge of all items listed on this assessment form.
_ Can the employee identify if a trench or excavation meets the definition of confined space? _____ 71 If yes, is the employee trained to evaluate confined space hazards?
_ Is the employee capable of specifying necessary safety control measures to assure employee safety?
_ When performing inspections of the excavation, is the employee able to thoroughly conduct inspections of the excavation?
Of adjacent structures? _____________________
Of protective systems? _____________________
Is the employee able to identify when to conduct inspections (prior to the start of work, as needed throughout the shift, after rainstorm or hazard-increasing occurrence)?
Can the employee exercise the authority to remove employees from a hazardous area until proper precautions are taken?
Is the employee able to recognize that a protective system is needed for any excavation less than 5 feet in depth? __________ If using dewatering equipment on site, is the employee able to monitor the equipment and its proper operation?
Is the employee able to identify if the excavation been subjected to heavy rainfall? ___________ Is the employee able to inspect the excavation and ensure that it complies with the precautions set forth in the Excavations Standard, part (h)(1) and (h)(2)?
Is the employee able to evaluate the use of a structural ramp for trenching activities? _________ UC Irvine/Trenching and Shoring Program 3 Is the employee able to examine any damaged equipment or materials used, and evaluate its suitability for continued use?
Is the employee able to distinguish between Option 1 (Select and construct a protective system) and Option 2 (Design a sloping and shoring system) and which one is appropriate to be used at a job site?
_ Is the employee able to properly classify soil using either a manual test or pocket penetrometer OR a visual test and a pocket penetrometer?
What type of soil was identified in the excavation?
What visual tests were used?
What manual tests were performed?
How was the proper sloping or benching configuration chosen?
_ If the ramp is used for employees, is the employee able to evaluate it for safe access and egress?