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Trenching & Excavation Safety Checklist


Excavations and trenching work can expect a number of occupational dangers, including cave-ins, explosions, and suffocations. To prevent a potential catastrophe, use a excavation safety checklist to ensure all safety precautions and parameters are upheld and in practice. Inspect your trenching site and create a safety plan for utilities, wet conditions, access and egresses, hazardous atmospheres, soils, and support systems.


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Trenching & Excavation Safety Checklist

Audit

GENERAL INSPECTION

Has the "Competent Person" had specific training in — and is knowledgeable about — soil analysis, use of protective systems, and the requirements of 29CFR1926-Subpart P:

Are all on surface encumbrance removed or supported

Are all employees protected from loose rock or soil that could pose a hazard by falling or rolling into the excavation?

Are hard hats worn by all employees?

Does the "Competent Person" have the authority to remove workers from the excavation immediately?

Are excavations, adjacent areas, and protective systems inspected by a competent person:

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Are materials and equipment set back at least 2 feet from the edge of your excavation?

Are barriers provided at all remotely located excavations, wells, pits, shafts, etc.?

Are walkways and bridges over excavations 6 feet or more in depth and 30 inches or more in width equipped with standard guard rails and toe-boards?

Are warning vests or other highly visible clothing provided and worn by all employees exposed to vehicle traffic?

Are employees required to stand away from vehicles being loaded and unloaded?

Are warning systems established and used when mobile equipment is operating near the edge of an excavation?

Are employees prohibited from going under suspended loads?

Are employees prohibited from working on the face of a slope or benched excavation above other employees?

UTILITIES

Are utilities companies contacted and/or utilities located as required by local, state, and federal law?

Are the exact locations clearly marked?

Are underground installations protected, supported, or removed when the excavation is open?

ACCESS & EGRESS

Are ladders or other means of access and egress in place and all trenches 4 feet or more in depth?

Are all employees within 25 feet of a means of access and egress?

Are the ladders that are used in the excavation secure and extended 3 feet above edge of the excavation?

Are all structural ramps used by employees designed by a competent person?

Are all structural ramps used for equipment designed by a Registered Professional Engineer?

Are all ramps constructed with materials of uniform thickness, cleated together, and equipped with non-slip surfaces?

WET CONDITIONS

Are precautions taken to protect employees from water accumulation?

Is water removal equipment monitored by a competent person?

Is surface water or runoff diverted after every rainstorm?

HAZARDOUS ATMOSPHERES

Is the atmosphere within all excavations tested when there is a reasonable possibility of an oxygen deficiency, oxygen-enriched air, combustible, toxic, or other harmful contaminants?

Are adequate precautions taken to protect employees from exposures to an atmosphere containing less than 19.5% oxygen and/or another hazardous atmosphere?

Is verification provided to protect employees from an atmosphere containing flammable gases in excess of 10% of the lower explosive limit of the gas?

Is emergency equipment available when a hazardous atmosphere does or could exist?

Are employees trained to use personal protective equipment and other rescue equipment?

SOILS

Has the competent person classified the soil using one manual test and one visual test, as specified by the standard?

Visual test

Manual test

SUPPORT SYSTEMS

Type of support system being used?

Are materials and/or equipment chosen based upon soil analysis, trench depth, and expected loads?

Are materials and equipment that are used for protective systems inspected and in good condition?

Are damaged materials and equipment immediately removed from service?

Are damaged materials and equipment inspected by a registered, professional engineer after repairs are made but before being placed back into service?

Are the protective systems installed without exposing employees to cave-ins, collapses, or other threats of being struck by materials or equipment?

Are all members of support systems securely fastened together to prevent failure?

Are support systems provided to ensure the stability of adjacent structures, buildings, roadways, sidewalks, etc.?

Are excavations below the level of the base or footings supported and approved by a registered professional engineer?

Does back-filling progress with removal of the support system?

Is a shield system installed to prevent lateral moment?

Are employees prohibited from remaining in a shield system during vertical movement?

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