When a trench caves in, the weight of the dirt can trap and kill workers. One cubic yard of dirt can weigh 3000 pounds or more. Each year, trench collapses seriously injure or kill construction workers.
Here are some safety tips:
- Never enter an unprotected or uninspected trench. A trained, competent person must inspect the trench and surroundings first.
- Make sure rocks, dirt and equipment are stored at least 2 feet from the edge of the trench.
- Never work alone in a trench and never without a lookout standing by.
- Make sure the trench is protected by either sloping, shoring or shielding with supports or trench boxes.
- Make sure there is a ladder within 25 feet for access with side rails extending at least 3 feet above ground level for any trench over 4 feet deep.
- Always wear your personal protective equipment.