Safety in the trenches
OSHA requires that employees working inside trenches be protected against cave-in injuries. Trenches should be:
- Sloped down to add stability
- Cut to create stepped bench grades
- Supported by a system made with posts, beams, shores, or planking and hydraulic jacks
- Supported by a trench box
For additional protection, all materials – including excavated materials – should be at least 2 feet away from the edge, and a safe means of egress must be provided within 25 feet of workers in a trench. OSHA cautions workers never to enter an unprotected trench.