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Safe work in trenches: hazard alert.

The Center to Protect Workers' Rights
Silver Spring, MD: The Center to Protect Workers' Rights, 2005 Jun; :1-2
Most trenches are dug to lay pipe or place manholes, conduit runs, or footings. It is easy to try to work fast in a trench and get out without taking the correct safety steps. Don't. Each year, more than 30 construction workers are killed in trenches. The Hazards: A trench is a confined space with many special problems. Most deaths in trenches are from cave-ins. Other risks are falls, electrocution, being struck by falling objects (or a backhoe), and bad air. Bad air can hurt your breathing, help cause a fire, or poison you. Many workers die trying to rescue other workers in trenches. Protect Yourself: OSHA says your employer (the contractor) must train you about the hazards and how to protect yourself. If a trench will be dug, the contractor must name a competent person. (OSHA says a competent person knows the OSHA excavation standard,* is trained in soil analysis and protective systems, can identify hazards, and has authority to stop work right away.)
Construction; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Work-environment; Work-practices; Worker-health; Outdoors; Excavation-equipment; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Mortality-data; Mortality-rates; Ground-control; Ground-stability; Traumatic-injuries; Public-utilities; Control-equipment; Confined-spaces; Standards; Regulations; Training; Soil-analysis; Hazards; Protective-equipment; Protective-measures
Building and Construction Trades Dept., AFL-CIO: CPWR, Suite 1000, 8484 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910
Publication Date
Document Type
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement; Construction
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-317202; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U54-OH-008307
Priority Area
Source Name
Safe Work in Trenches: Hazard Alert
Performing Organization
The Center to Protect Workers' Rights
Page last reviewed: April 8, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division