Trenching and Excavation Safety
This is one in a series of informational fact sheets highlighting OSHA programs, policies or
Two workers are killed every month in trench collapses.The employer must provide a
workplace free of recognized hazards that may cause serious injury or death. The
employer must comply with the trenching and excavation requirements of 29 CFR
1926.651 and 1926.652 or comparable OSHA-approved state plan requirements.
An excavation is any man-made cut, cavity, trench, or depression in an earth surface
formed by earth removal.
Trench (Trench excavation) means a narrow excavation (in relation to its length) made
below the surface of the ground. In general, the depth is greater than the width, but
the width of a trench (measured at the bottom) is not greater than 15 feet (4.6 meters).