"According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, excavation and trench-related fatalities in 2016 were nearly double the average of the previous five years. OSHA has made reducing trenching and excavation hazards the Agency's Priority Goal. Trench collapses, or cave-ins, pose the greatest risk to workers' lives. To prevent cave-ins:
- SLOPE or bench trench walls
- SHORE trench walls with supports, or
- SHIELD trench walls with trench boxes
Employers should also ensure there is a safe way to enter and exit the trench. Keep materials away from the edge of the trench. Look for standing water or atmospheric hazards. Never enter a trench unless it has been properly inspected.
29 CFR 1926.650, 29 CFR 1926.651, and 29 CFR 1926.652 are applicable OSHA standards."
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