OSHA Quick Card: Working Safely in Trenches

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Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Summary Statement

Brief description of steps to protect yourself when working in a trench.

Do NOT enter an unprotected trench!

Each employee in a trench shall be protected from a cave-in by an adequate protective system.

Some of the protective systems for trenches are:

Sloped for stability; or
Sloped for stability; or
Cut to create stepped benched grades; or
Cut to create stepped

Supported by a system made with posts, beams, shores or planking and hydraulic jacks; or
Supported by a system

Supported by a trench box to protect workers in a trench.
Supported by a trench

Additionally, excavated or other materials must be at least 2 feet back from the edge of a trench; and
Additionally, excavated

A safe means of egress shall be provided within 25 feet of workers in a trench.
A safe means of