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Cave-ins from excavations are one of the leading causes of worker fatalities in the construction industry.
Those working in water districts are regularly required to work in and around excavations.

Follow these best practices to control the hazards associated with excavation work:

  • Any excavation that is 4’ deep or more must have a method of egress. This method can be provided as
    a ramp, ladder, or another safe method. It must be located not more than 25 feet from the worker
  • Any trench that is more than 5’ deep must have some form of protection from a cave-in. The only
    exclusion would be an excavation entirely made of rock
  • Heavy equipment should be kept away from the edges of the trench to prevent the wall from falling in
    due to the weight of the equipment or from the equipment itself falling in
  • Spoil piles should be kept at least 2’ from the edge of the trench, this step prevents the material from
    weighing down and resulting in a wall collapse
  • Call OKIE811 to locate underground utilities before the start of each job
  • If working in a trench that is 4’ or greater, the atmosphere should be tested before entry and then
  • Trench stability can change from day to day or even one shift to the next. The excavation should be reinspected
    before the start of each shift
  • They should be re-inspected following the presence of any rain or water in the trench


This article is provided solely as a reference tool to be used for information purposes only. The information in this article shall not be construed or interpreted as providing legal or any other advice. The information material does not amend the provisions of any insurance policy issued by CompSource Mutual. It is not a representation that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any such policy. Coverage depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss, all applicable policy provisions, and any applicable law.

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