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Trenching Checklist

​This Tailgate Talk is part of the NLTAPA collection.

BEFORE TRENCHING WORK BEGINS: 


  • Check soil conditions or other material to be excavated. 


  • Check proximity to utilities, buildings and sources of vibrations 


  • Check with owners of utilities, service or transmission piping, etc., and arrange shutdown or relocation of facilities if necessary. 


  • Call Digsafe or your local State authority to arrange for marking the location of underground utilities. 


  • Check for the location of overhead hazards and power lines. Check for previously disturbed soil. 


  • Check for trees, boulders or other hazards. 


  • Check adequacy and availability of all equipment, including personal protective gear, shoring materials, signs, barricades and machinery. 



DURING THE TRENCHING OPERATION: 


  • Check for changing ground conditions particularly after rains. 


  • Check for possible oxygen deficiency or gaseous conditions. 


  • Check adequacy of shoring and or sloping as work progresses. 


  • Check for maintenance of entrance and exit methods. 


  • Check all sheeting, bracing, shoring and underpinning. 


  • Check for changes in vehicular and machinery operational patterns. 



AFTER THE TRENCH IS OPEN AND WORK IS UNDERWAY: 


  • Check sloping of banks, sides and walls in relation to depth of cut, water content of soil and vibration. 


  • Check entrance and exit methods (no more than 25 feet to a ladder). 


  • Check location for operation of heavy equipment, loaders, track hoes, and dump trucks. 


  • Check that excavated material is two feet or more from the edge of the opening. 


  • Check the adequacy of portable trench boxes or trench shields, if used. 


  • Check for correct positioning of cross braces or trench jacks to prevent sliding, falling or kickouts.