Working in a trench may not seem particularly dangerous, but trenching accidents kill and injure many workers every year. The most serious hazard is collapse or cave-in. The risks of cave-in depend on the type of soil, the shape of the trench, the depth of the excavation, the protective structures used, and other factors. Before you enter a trench on the job, a person with knowledge about assessing trench conditions for safety should inspect the trench.
Trenches that are five feet or deeper must have protective systems to prevent cave-ins, unless the entire excavation is made in stable rock. When you enter and exit a trench, always use a designated entry or exit point (e.g., ladder, ramp or stairway). The only exception to this is for trenches shallower than four feet. A special entrance is not required for these trenches, but it is still a good idea to use one.
When working in a trench, always place all debris, materials and soil you remove from the trench at least two feet from the edge of the excavation.
Always follow these practices:
• Stand away from vehicles being loaded or unloaded to avoid being struck by falling materials.
• Keep heavy equipment away from trench edges.
• If the trench is located near a roadway with vehicle traffic, wear high-visibility clothing.
• Never stand or work under a load being lifted by lifting or digging equipment.
• Never enter a trench where water has accumulated, unless your employer has provided protective measures such as water removal equipment or a safety harness and lifeline
DISCLAIMER: Any information and recommendations contained in this communication have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. However, Lon Brown Insurance, Fearrin Insurance, Key Henson Jackson Insurance and Auto-Owners Insurance Group accepts no legal responsibility for the accuracy, sufficiency, or completeness of such information. Additional safety and health procedures may be required to comply with local, state, or federal law. Content in this document is not legal advice, nor does it amend the terms, conditions, or coverages of any insurance policy issued by herein above listed insurance agencies and/or companies. Materials provided by Auto Owners Insurance to Brown Insurance Group for use as an educational tool.