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Preventing worker deaths from trench cave-ins <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/wp-solutions/2011-208/"target="_blank">(superseded by 2011-208).</a>
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2011-180, 2011 Jun; :1-4
Workers are at risk of death from cave-ins during trenching and excavation activities. NIOSH recommends engineering controls, protective equipment, and safe work practices to minimize hazards for workers. Workers who dig or excavate trenches are at risk of death if they enter an unprotected trench and the walls collapse. However, hazards associated with trench work and excavation are well defined and preventable. The OSHA standard for excavation and trenching, known as 29 CFR* 1926 Subpart P, describes the precautions needed for safe excavation work. There is no reliable warning when a trench fails. The walls can collapse suddenly, and workers will not have time to move out of the way. Even though small amounts of dirt may not seem treacherous, a single cubic yard of dirt can weigh more than 3,000 pounds, which can fatally crush or suffocate workers [Deatherage et al. 2004]. Even small, solid pieces of dirt can cause serious injuries. From 2000-2009, 350 workers died in trenching or excavation cave-ins - an average of 35 fatalities per year [BLS 2010].
Construction; Construction-workers; Excavation-equipment; Ground-control; Ground-stability; Mortality-data; Mortality-rates; Regulations; Engineering-controls; Environmental-control-equipment; Personal-protective-equipment; Work-practices; Work-environment; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Injury-prevention; Occupational-hazards; Industrial-engineering; Industrial-hazards; Case-studies
Numbered Publication; Workplace Solutions
NTIS Accession No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2011-180
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division