Trenching and Excavation Safety Fact Sheet

This OSHA fact sheet highlights facts about trench and excavation hazards and how to be safe in and around trenches on the construction jobstie

Trench (Trench excavation) means a narrow excavation (in relation to its length) made
below the surface of the ground. In general, the depth is greater than the width, but
the width of a trench (measured at the bottom) is not greater than 15 feet.

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, and incidents involving mobile equipment. Do not enter an unprotected trench.