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Do not take any excavation site for granted. Constantly watch for cave-in hazards, and follow these critical rules.
- A competent person, who is trained to watch for and mitigate hazards must:
- Be on site at all times.
- Inspect the site daily for changing conditions.
- Inspect the trench before an employee enters.
- Determine if the trench needs a protection system to prevent it from collapsing.
- Sites over five feet deep must have a protection system – sloping, shoring or shield.
- All trench shields must at least extend to the ground surface.
- A shield must be within two feet of the bottom of the trench.
- Soils must be properly sloped according to their types.
- The dirt-spoil pile must be at least two feet from the excavation's edge and be sloped according to the soil classification.
- Ladders or ramps are required when trenches are four feet deep or more.
- Ladders and ramps must be tied off.
- Twenty-five feet is the maximum distance a person can be from a ladder or ramp while in the trench.
- Prevent unauthorized entry into excavations by using fencing and barricades.