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OSHA Trenching and Excavation Fact Sheet

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Trench collapses, or cave-ins, pose the greatest risk to workers’ lives. When done safely, trenching operations can reduce worker exposure to other potential hazards include falls, falling loads, hazardous atmospheres, and incidents involving mobile equipment.

OSHA standards require that employers provide workplaces free of recognized hazards. The employer must comply with the trenching and excavation requirements of 29 CFR 1926.651 and 1926.652 or comparable OSHA-approved state plan requirements.

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