Excavations and trenching safety


It goes without saying that every month is Dig Safe month in the heavy construction industry.

It is critical that our companies remain diligent in following practices and procedures to protect workers from injuries or serious life-threatening incidents involving excavations or trenching.

This year, perhaps more than others, has presented challenges related to excessive rain and water accumulation on our construction sites.  This, of course, can increase the likelihood of slumping or collapse while working in or near an excavation or trench.

Employers should be aware the Provincial Workplace Safety and Health is placing a priority on the inspection of construction projects involving excavations and trenching.

In this regard, a number of companies in the industry have recently received inspections from WSH officers focusing on this very issue.

To help avoid any serious incidents, protect workers and ensure compliance with WSH requirements, companies should ensure:

  • All permits and locates are properly obtained as required
  • All practices/procedures involved in excavation/trenching are reviewed by management and workers
  • Workers are trained in and following all safe work practices/procedures including: excavation and trenching; confined space entry; and emergency procedures
  • Correct PPE is worn at all times
  • Emergency procedures are appropriate and practiced with workers
  • Regular safety meetings are held to discuss concerns or questions

If you have any questions regarding excavation/trenching safety please contact your WORKSAFELY® regional safety advisor.