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Trenching (Construction)
National Summary
OSHA's excavation regulations for construction activities cover the safe work practices employees and supervisors must follow at excavation sites. OSHA requires employers to use a protective system in all excavations and trenches 5 feet (ft) or deeper to protect employees exposed to potential cave-ins and other related hazards.
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Directives 02/20/1990 - CPL 2.87 - Inspection Procedures for Enforcing the Excavation Standard, 29 CFR l926, Subpart P 07/22/2003National
Directives 09/19/1985 - CPL 2.69 - Special Emphasis: Trenching and Excavation 07/18/2003National
Violations 2009 Violation Summary for Excavations - Construction  National
Violations 2011 Violation Summary for Excavations - Construction  National
Regulations 29 CFR § 1926 Appendix A to Subpart P Soil Classification  National
Regulations 29 CFR § 1926 Appendix B to Subpart P Sloping and Benching  National
Regulations 29 CFR § 1926 Appendix C to Subpart P Timber Shoring for Trenches  National
Regulations 29 CFR § 1926 Appendix D to Subpart P Aluminum Hydraulic Shoring for Trenches  National
Regulations 29 CFR § 1926 Appendix E to Subpart P Alternatives to Timber Shoring  National
Regulations 29 CFR § 1926 Appendix F to Subpart P Selection of Protective Systems  National
Regulations 29 CFR § 1926.650 Scope, application, and definitions applicable to this subpart  National
Regulations 29 CFR § 1926.651 Specific excavation requirements  National
Regulations 29 CFR § 1926.652 Requirements for protective systems  National
Interpretations 29 CFR 1926.651(i)(1); excavation operations. [1926.651(i)(1)] 01/10/2006National
Interpretations Adjusting work practices to comply with cave-in protection requirements in §1926.652, Requirements for protective systems in excavations.[1926.652(g)(2)] 07/29/2005National
Interpretations Can a person who qualifies as a "competent" person under one section of support P also qualify as a competent designer of structural ramps under §1926.651(c)(1)(i)?.[1926.650(b); 1926.651(c)(1)(i); 1926.652(b); 1926.652(b)(2); 1926.652(b)(4)] 07/01/2010National
Interpretations Clarification of utility "owner" as used in the Safety and Health Standards for Excavations, Underground Installations.[1926.651(b)(2); 1926.651(b); 1926.650; 1926.651; 1926.652] 09/21/2001National
Interpretations Classification of soils for providing protective systems in excavations. [1926.652(b)(1)(i)] 03/10/1992National
Interpretations Competent person responsibilities at excavations. [1926.651(k)(1) ] 08/05/1992National
Interpretations Concerns with the OSHA June 30 memorandum concerning the application of 29 CFR 1926.652 to house foundation/basement excavations. [1926.652] 09/07/1995National
Interpretations Construction standards addressing excavations. [1926.651(h)] 03/23/1992National
Interpretations Design of protective systems for employees working in trenches. [1926.652] 05/21/1992National
Interpretations Evaluation of the use of aluminum forms as an exit route from trench excavations.[1926.651; 1926.651(c)(2)] 05/11/2004National
Plans Excavation and Trenching Plan  National
Interpretations Excavation standards relating to aluminum rail. [1926.652] 05/05/1992National
Checklists Excavation Trenching Daily Inspection Log  National
Guidance Documents Excavations  National
Interpretations Exposure to radon when working in trenches or excavations.[1910.1096; 1910.1096(c)(1); 1926.53] 12/28/2009National
Questions & Answers Is an excavation inspection by a competent person required to be documented? 11/15/2013National
Interpretations Minimum length that an excavation must be before a protective system is required. [1926.652(a)] 07/16/1993National
Interpretations OSHA standards addressing reverse signal alarms on excavators. [1926.602] 05/10/1995National
Interpretations Permissibility of installing a trench shield so that the top is flush with the surface.[1926.652; 1926.652(g)(1)(ii)] 11/14/2003National
Interpretations Plywood as a substitute for meeting the standard. [1926.652] 02/19/1993National
Interpretations Protective system requirements for excavations that will not be entered by employees.[1926.652; 1926.652(a)(1); 1926.652(b); 1926.652(c)] 10/13/2009National
Interpretations Registered professional engineer approval requirements for combination trench shield and sloping system trenches with a depth greater than 20 feet.[1926.650(b); 1926.652; 1926.652(a); 1926.652(b); 1926.652(b)(3); 1926.652(b)(4)] 12/22/2003National
Interpretations Registered professional engineer approval requirements for manufactured trench protection systems deeper than 20 feet. 01/16/2003National
Interpretations Requirements for MTD to identify registered professional engineers. [1926 Subpart P] 10/27/1992National
Interpretations Requirements to prevent trench collapse during sheet-pile operations.[1926.603(c)(3); 1916.652(b); 1926.651(j)] 10/17/2000National
Interpretations Review of Reeves Sleeve stretcher. 01/19/1993National
Quizzes Safe Excavations (PDF)  National
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