Working Safely in Trenches and Test Pits

Trench Box

Trench BoxThe Associated Construction Publications organization have published an article on Working Safely Underground. It’s a good refresher for those of us who occasionally find ourselves working in trenches and test pits. Make sure you do it safely, nothing is worth losing your life over! Of course safe excavation guidelines are the realm of OSHA. If you forget everything else, at least remember this:


  • Trenches 5 feet deep or greater require a protective system.
  • Trenches 20 feet deep or greater require that the protective system be designed by a registered professional engineer.


Of course sloping the excavation can be one method of protection system. Others would be trench boxes or other types of shielding. (Photo by philurwin)