Excavations and Trenching – Hazards and Controls

These safety rules are for your protection. Follow the practices below on the job site to keep yourself and others safe. Significant incidents leading to disciplinary action could result when safe work practices are not followed. Always document and complete the Fiore Daily Excavation and Trenching Inspection.

Hazards and Controls

  • Do not enter unsafe trenches.
  • Do not enter a trench with unprotected hazards, such as underground utilities.
  • Trenches & excavations must be inspected daily by a trained and authorized competent person.
  • A competent person must be on site throughout the duration of the excavation.
  • Trenches & excavations shall be evaluated after storms, excess rain, significant vibration and when conditions change.
  • When trenches are four feet deep; test for possible hazardous atmospheres.
  • Groundwater, drying after excavation, cracks, sloughs and other indications of failure are not to be ignored.
  • When trenches reach five feet or more in depth, protection from cave-in shall be used, but may be required in shallower trenches if conditions warrant.
  • Safe access will be provided for trenches & excavations four feet or more in depth. Do not jump into trenches.
  • Ladders, ramps or steps shall be placed every 50 feet, or within 25 feet of workers.
  • Provide fall protection for workers. Provide warning signs and barricades for those nearby.
  • Trenches & excavations must be protected from motorists or machines that could drive into the work site.
  • Trenches & excavations over 20 feet deep must be designed and evaluated by a registered engineer.
  • Workers shall not work beneath elevated/lifted loads.
  • Never get into a trench that has not been inspected. Ask to see it.
  • Trench protective devices, such as boxes, must extend 18 inches above the trench.
  • Surcharge spoil & material piles, supplies, and tools must not be placed within two feet of the trench.
  • Pipe shall be placed in a manner to prevent them from rolling into the trench.
  • Slope spoil piles back and lightly pack the slope to prevent “rollers” from entering the trench.
  • Never lift or lower workers with digging equipment.
  • Never dig without an active 811 COLO utility locate.

Knowing the potential signs of trench failure & taking steps to prevent cave-ins are ways to keep safe when below grade.


“Always stand up for what you believe in. Even if it means standing alone.”

Kim Hanks, CEO Whim Hospitality Group

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