Safety Blog

Toolbox Talk Trenching

17 May 2020 - Flaaim

Overview

Trenching operations are common to many types of construction and maintenance projects, and although inherently dangerous, the hazards of trench cave-ins are preventable. Yet every year there are an estimated 75 to 200 deaths and more than 1,000 lost work days from trenching accidents.

A few simple precautions, when observed and implemented, can serve to take most of the risk out of trench construction.

For Discussion…

  1. Do you know who your jobsite trenching competent person is?
  2. Does the competent person inspect all trenches before workers are allowed in the trench, and frequently during work, after rainstorms or other hazard increasing occurrences?
  3. In soils other than solid rock, shale or cemented sand and gravel, is the trench shored and/or braced, or benched if over five feet in depth?
  4. Regardless of the length of time it will be open, is the trench shored and braced and are employees protected from cave-ins?
  5. Are all surface hazards and excavated materials placed a minimum of two feet back from the edge of trench?
  6. Are workers in the trench working in the area of operation of any excavating machine?
  7. Are all workers wearing hard hats in the trenches?
  8. In trenches over four feet in depth are ladders provided so as not to require more than 25 feet of lateral travel to reach one?
  9. Do all workers know where the ladders are and have unobstructed access to them?
  10. Are all underground utilities located and protected, supported, or removed?
  11. Are hazardous atmospheres, that exist or could exist, tested for and eliminated prior to entry?
  12. Is rescue equipment provided where hazardous atmospheres exist or could reasonably be expected to develop during work in the trench?

The above safety actions are your employer’s responsibilities. Report any discrepancies to your supervisor if any of these is not correct

Toolbox Talk: Trenching

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