SafetyWorks! Toolbox Talks
Cave-ins are a major cause of deaths in the construction industry each year. Excavations must be properly shored or cut back to an acceptable angle of repose; otherwise, there will be a constant threat of a cave-in and the associated chance of injury or loss of life. A qualified person must be involved in planning and having a safe excavation project.
Guide for Discussion
Before Excavation Review
- Underground utilities located? (Checked with local utility companies or property owner.) Call Dig-Safe
- Any overhead hazards (i.e., falling rock, soil, or other materials or equipment)?
- Will there be any heavy equipment operating in the near proximity of the excavation?
- Estimated depth required for the excavation?
- How many people will work inside the excavation?
- Is there an escape plan for those inside the excavation to cover a possible cave-in or slide?
- Has there been a soil analysis? This will help determine the type of shoring to provide or the angle of repose needed.
Steps to Take to Provide a Safe Excavating Operation
- Always shore or cut back the opening adequately.
- Any opening with a depth of five feet or more requires shoring or be cut back.
- Never store excavated or other materials closer than two feet from the edge of the excavation (spoil pile).
- Inspect the excavation daily. This must be done by a competent person.
- Access ladders must be provided every twenty-five feet in excavations of four (4) feet or more in depth.
- Never work outside of the shoring or trench box
- Review escape procedures with all personnel who may have cause to be in the excavation.
Additional Discussion Notes:
Possible gas accumulation in the excavation?
Barriers, guardrails or other safety warnings in excavation area?
NOTE: Region I OSHA requires safety compliance officers to stop and examine all open trenches