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Trenching Safety

Each year, in Ontario, there are 3-4 fatalities and about 350 lost-time injuries in the sewer and watermain industry. A significant number of deaths in sewer and watermain work are directly related to trenching. Trenching fatalities are mainly caused by cave-ins. Death occurs by suffocation or crushing when a worker is buried by falling soil.

Injuries occur from material falling into the trench, slips from entering or exiting equipment, unloading pipe and other materials, being struck by equipment, falling into trench, climbing in or out of trench, and exposure to toxic or flammable gases. This course will make the worker aware of reasons for cave-ins and how to protect against them. Sloping, shoring, and trench boxes are three of the methods that are used to protect workers from cave-ins and they are all discussed during the trenching safety course. Never enter a trench more than 4 feet deep unless it is sloped, shored, or protected by a trench box.

There are many hazards and safeguards to consider when working in or around trenches. Injuries and death are also caused from other ways

  • proper personal protection equipment,
  • underground and overhead utilities,
  • housekeeping and material handling,
  • heavy machinery,
  • traffic control, and
  • confined spaces.

All of these topics including emergency procedures are discussed throughout the duration of Trenching Safety.