It's Trench Safety Stand-Down Week

June 22, 2017

This week is Trench Safety Stand-Down Week sponsored by NUCA with the support of OSHA. Trench Safety Stand-Down Week, from June 19 to 24, is designed to help educate and encourage employers and workers on  precautions.

This week is an excellent opportunity to focus on what you and your crew know about trench and excavation hazards, and reinforce the importance of using trench protective systems and protecting workers from trenching hazards.

NUCA and OSHA also offer resources including Train the Trainer programs, toolbox talks podcasts, and links to the NUCA Safety News archives at

Click here for the latest Trench Safety Podcast .

Then, test yourself to see what you do, and perhaps don't, know about trench safety:

1. A stairway, ladder, ramp or other safe means of egress

shall be located in trench excavations that are 4 ft. (1.22 m) or more in depth so as to require no more than______

feet of lateral travel for employees.

a. 10

b. 25

c. 50

d. none of the above


2. The thumb penetration test is based on _____.

a. OSHA table Z-1


c. ASTM D2488

d. not listed


3. In excavations less than five feet deep, no shoring is required if _____.


4. In Type B soil, the sloping ratio is _____.

a. 3/4 to 1.

b. 1 to 1.

c. 1-1/2 to 1.

d. not permitted


5.Excavations with vertical walls that remain intact when exposed are in _____.

a. Type A soil

b. Type B soil

c. Type C soil

d. stable rock


6. OSHA requires a ladder or ramp to exit a trench if the depth of excavation is _____.

a. 3 feet

b. 4 feet or more

c. 6 feet

d. 12 feet


7.The least stable soil type is _____.

a. Type A

b. Type B

c. Type C

d. stable rock


8. One advantage of aluminum hydraulic shoring is that workers do not have to enter an unprotected trench to install or remove it.

a. True

b. False


9. When excavating under the base of a wall, foundation or sidewalk, the support system must be designed by a registered professional engineer.

a. True

b. False


10. A trench shield (trench box) must be designed by a

a. competent person

b. machinist

c. registered professional engineer

d. certified welder


Source: Excavation Safety, Texas Department of Insurance. Click this link to download the 12-page training report.

Test answers: 1.b 2.c 3.d 4.b 5.d 6.b 7.c 8.a 9.a 10. c