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Top 10 Trenching Safety Tips

Excavation and trenching are among the most dangerous activities in the construction industry. Trench collapses and cave-ins pose extreme risk for workers. Below are the Top 10 trenching safety tips to protect workers from injury.

For full guidelines on excavation and trench safety, we recommend you visit the WorkSafe New Zealand website.

Top 10 Trenching Safety Tips

  1. Have a competent employee inspect the trench daily before beginning work.

  2. Have a competent employee inspect the trench after any event that may have impacted the trench's stability (such as a rainstorm).

  3. Keep excavated material and other materials away from trench edges.

  4. Make sure not to undermine nearby structures – use safe excavation practice and dig away from them.

  5. Prevent collapse through implementing safe trenching practices, such as benching, sloping, shoring or shielding.

  6. Keep heavy machinery away from trench edges.

  7. Be mindful of the location of underground services (e.g. telecommunications, power, water). Know where underground services are located before excavation commences.

  8. Always wear proper protective equipment, such as high visibility clothing.

  9. Do not work under suspended or raised loads.

  10. Test for atmospheric hazards such as low oxygen, hazardous fumes and toxic gases as required.

Excavation and trenching can be extremely dangerous. Ensure you review and implement any specific safety requirements specified by your local or central government.

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