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5 tips to help avoid a trench collapse

A trench collapse is dangerous and often fatal for construction workers. It's one of the biggest hazards of the profession, and proper steps must be taken to reduce the likelihood of a collapse. It is important for workers and companies not to get complacent, as all it takes is one mistake for a serious disaster to occur.

So, what can be done to keep a trench from collapsing? Here are five tips that will help:

  • Give workers proper training. Make sure they are competent and that well-trained workers are always on the site when a trench is being used.
  • Following the guidelines already laid out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These include things like avoiding water accumulation, never lifting loads over workers and more.
  • Ensure that a protective system is in place. This is especially important when digging down more than five feet. When in doubt, use the protection.
  • Analyze the soil carefully before the project and during it. Understand exactly how unstable it is and what unique challenges it provides. Never assume that the exact tactics used on one job will work on another, as they could be carried out in very different soil types.
  • Carry out inspections every single day. Even if the trench has been stable, still have it checked daily for any issues or changes. Only proceed with the job once the inspection is complete.

Trench collapses happen very quickly, and there is often nothing workers can do to get out of the way. Those who suffer injuries or lose loved ones must know all of the legal rights they have.

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