The National Utility Contractors Association has declared this June “Trench Safety Month.” Week 3 discusses the best practices for Trenching and Excavation. This is important because the fatality rate for excavation work is 112% higher than the rate for general construction. This is because the hazards are both frequent and more deadly. Cave-ins are the most feared trenching hazard, but other fatal hazards include asphyxiation from lack of oxygen in a confined space, inhalation of toxic fumes, drowning, and electrocution or explosions when workers make contact with underground utilities. These hazards are so dangerous because soil is incredibly heavy. When saturated, soil weighs 114 lbs. per cubic foot, equaling a little over 1.5 tons. 

When conducting trench or excavation work, follow these safety tips to reduce your chances of possible injury or death from the above hazards:

  1. Have a trench inspected prior to entry and again after a rainstorm, vibrations, or excessive surcharge loads
  2. Don’t enter an unprotected trench
  3. Provide a way to exit a trench
  4. Develop an emergency rescue plan
  5. Keep spoils at least two feet away from the trench’s edge
  6. Identify any utility locations before excavation by calling the National One Call system
  7. Always use a protective system for trenches five feet deep or greater

To learn more about the best practices for trenching and excavation, please visit:

DII is your partner in trench and equipment safety. Our team of experts can work with you to understand how to teach your employees best safety practices in the field. Please contact your DII representative for more information.  #TrenchSafetyMonth  #Trenching #Excavation

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