Workers who operate heavy equipment or work near heavy equipment must ensure that they are using proper safety procedures. This is especially true when those workers are digging trenches or excavating land. The workers who are in the trench or near the excavation must be sure that they have done the necessary steps to avoid a cave in.

There are several different accidents that can occur in a trench or during excavation. These include the sides of caving in, falls, atmospheric hazards and falling loads. With all of those hazards in mind, there should be no surprise that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set standards for how these types of jobs must be conducted.

Generally, the primary concern when working with trenching or excavating is keeping the area stable. When you remove land during the excavating or trenching, the area can become unstable. Ensuring that the trench has a protective system is crucial. If the trench is greater than 20 feet deep, the protective system must be designed by a professional engineer who is registered or it must meet strict standards regarding the approval and basis of the plan.

It is also important that heavy equipment and other items, such as spoils, aren’t placed near the edge of the trench. Added weight near the edge of the trench can lead to cave ins. Because of that danger, the trench should have safe egress and access that allows employees to make a safe exit.

Employees who are injured because of safety violations might choose to seek compensation for their injuries. Learning the cause of the accident is one crucial component of your case.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “Trenching and Excavation Safety,” accessed June 02, 2016