SCT’s OSHA Trenching and Excavation Safety Experts cover every conceivable topic in the world of construction safety, with deep in-house excavation-specific industry knowledge.
Our team has spent decades providing world-class expertise in consulting, on-site safety audits, employee training, safety program development, and engineering design services.
Our training courses meet all relevant EPA, OSHA, State and Federal regulations. We can travel to you or host you at our own training facilities.
We can also create customized training to fit your specific needs.
Unmatched Expertise in Trenching & Excavation
Dana “Buck” Buchholzer, Director of Underground Services
Dana “Buck” Buchholzer is an accomplished classroom and field trainer, with over 40 years of experience in the construction industry. From designing and operating heavy equipment to developing commercial property, Buchholzer has seen the construction industry and related trades from all angles.
Buchholzer’s training programs are considered by industry insiders as the most advanced and complete in the nation. He’s been recognized as an approved instructor for the Federal Government, the State of Ohio, National Utilities Contractors Association, Ohio Contractors Association, Ohio Gas Association, Speed Shore Corporation, and National Trench Safety.
Buchholzer’s cutting edge training programs have provided critical instruction for the construction, industrial, utility, municipal and emergency service industries throughout the Midwest. Buchholzer has been a guest lecturer for dozens of contractor associations and industry organizations, and he holds several industry training and achievement certifications.
Dennis Hobart, Director of Construction Services
With 18 years of experience in the field of trenching and excavation SCT Director of Construction Services Dennis Hobart has spent his career designing and maintaining safe trenches on job sites across Ohio.
In addition to his work in the field, Hobart has trained thousands of construction, industrial and municipal workers as well as emergency professionals in excavation safety and trench rescue.
Joining SCT in 2014, Hobart performs safety and health audits of trenching sites and is part of SCT’s safety and health training team, where he teaches OSHA 10- and 30-hour courses as well as trenching and excavating safety, aerial lift, confined space, fall protection, scaffolding, and more.
OSHA’s Trenching and Excavation Standard
Trenching and Excavation is some of the most dangerous work taking place on a construction site. It’s also some of the most frequently OSHA-cited working conditions, and with good reason – trenching and excavation hazards are easily managed, but can turn deadly in an instant.
Cave-ins pose the greatest risk to excavation workers. Just one cubic yard of soil can weight as much as a car. Other trenching and excavation hazards include falling loads, hazardous atmospheres, and hazards from mobile equipment. If a trench is deeper than 20 feet, a registered professional engineer is required to inspect the excavation, to ensure work is being completed safely.
OSHA’s trenching and excavation standard does not require a protective system when an excavation is less than five feet deep or if a competent person determines that the excavation is made entirely in stable rock and found no indication of a potential cave-in.
Check out Appendix A to Subpart P of Part 1926 – Soil Classification for all of the nitty-gritty details concerning the classification of soil and rock deposits.
Never enter a trench unless:
- It has been properly inspected by a competent person
- Cave-in protection is in place
- A safe entrance and exit exists
- Equipment, materials and machinery are away from the edge of the trench
- The trench is free of standing water and other environmental hazards
There are many ways to safely comply with the excavation standards. Here are a few of the most popular and effective:
- Slope the sides of the excavation to an angle not steeper than 1½ : 1. Simply put, for every foot of depth, the trench must be excavated back 1½ feet. This is safe for any soil type.
- Design a sloping and benching system that follows tabulated data that is approved by a registered professional engineer
- Use a trench box or shield approved by a registered professional engineer, or one that is designed in accordance with tabulated data and approved by a registered professional engineer