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5 Common Trenching Safety Hazards To Be Aware Of

5 Common Trenching Safety Hazards To Be Aware Of

Repairing sewer lines can involve trenching and excavating, and as contractors begin specific tasks, they must take safety measures. Read about five common trenching safety hazards to be aware of to keep your workers safe.

Slips and Falls

Slips are common, especially if the ground is wet or unsteady. Additionally, workers could easily trip and fall into the trench, resulting in serious injury. You can easily prevent this by putting up signs around the trench to warn individuals.

Signs and safety fencing also keep any pedestrians aware of any possible danger they may face, which is especially important when your worksite is in a residential area. No one should be able to wander into the trench.

Atmospheric Changes

Oxygen levels may be lower in the trench, and workers may even encounter toxic gasses. This often depends on the work area, and if this is an issue in your location, keep your workers well equipped with adequate respiratory protection. Additionally, use signage in the work area to remind workers to put on their gear before working.

Hitting Utility Lines

Before you begin digging, ensure there are no city utility lines in the work area. Hitting a gas or electric line is dangerous to workers and may impact the city you work in. Contact city officials to have these underground lines flagged, so you know what areas to avoid.


One of the most common trenching safety hazards to be aware of is a cave-in, and luckily, preventing this disaster is simple. First, ensure someone inspects the trench every day before contractors get to work. Also, ensure there are entrance and exit points appropriately placed throughout the trench—according to OSHA guidelines, they must be within 25 feet of each employee.

Pro Tip

Inspecting the trench is especially important after a rainstorm or other heavy weather. Unexpected shifts in the earth could impact the trench.

Falling Loads

As workers move equipment around the work location, they should remain aware of the risk of falling loads. As you use machinery to lift heavy material or dig out the trench, ensure no one is too close.

For trenching contractors in the Seattle, Washington area, contact Complete Trenchless. We repair water and sewer lines for both residents and businesses to keep water systems up and running. As industry experts, we’ll get the job done efficiently.

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