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[VIDEO] Testing Soil to Prevent Trenching Accidents


Trench Shoring Boxes and Systems

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's logo.

“Excavations in Construction/Soil Classification,” a new video from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, highlights the importance of soil classification when performing trenching and excavation work. The video examines how visual inspection of soil is performed by a competent person before work begins (as required by OSHA).

The 11-minute video opens with an introduction to the video’s topic, and emphasizes that it is merely an overview of trenching safety practices. The narrator makes it clear that an all-encompassing training program would be the most beneficial.

According to the video, testing the soil helps employers determine its stability, which dictates which protective system to use on the job. It explains that the standard for trenching and excavation requires protective systems for trenches that are 5 feet or deeper, unless the excavation is in stable rock. Soil may also be classified as type A, B, or C depending on its overall texture and stability.

According to OSHA, 23 workers died in trench collapses in 2016 - more than the combined total from 2014 and 2015.

Source: Safety & Health Magazine & OSHA

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