Environment, Health, and Safety Careers

Excavation Safety

Excavation Safety Programs

Excavation Safety Program & Resources


Trenching and excavation hazards result in an average of 54 deaths annually. Soil stability, soil type, changes in weather, and unshored trench walls all can contribute to trench cave-ins. Hazards associated with trench work and excavation are recognized and preventable, yet injuries and fatalities associated with these hazards continue to occur. Regulations and consensus standards describe engineering controls, protective equipment, and safe work practices to minimize hazards for workers during trench work and excavations.

Excavating is recognized as one of the most hazardous construction operations. OSHA recently revised Subpart P, Excavations, of 29 CFR 1926.650, 29 CFR 1926.651, and 29 CFR 1926.652 to make the standard easier to understand, permit the use of performance criteria where possible, and provide construction employers with options when classifying soil and selecting employee protection methods.

Regulations / Directives / Training