1 Competent PersonAn inspection shall be conducted by the competent person prior to the start of work and as needed throughout the shift.
2 DaysContact utilities two days before excavation.
2 FeetSpoils, surcharge or other material or equipment must be set back two feet from the excavation.
2 FeetExcavating no more than two feet below members of support or shield is permitted, if the system is designed for the full depth of the trench, and there is no loss of soil from behind or below the system.
3 FeetLadders must extend not less than three feet above the top of the trench.
4 FeetStairways, ladders or ramps are needed in excavations four feet or more in depth.
4 FeetIn excavations greater than four feet, the atmosphere must be tested if oxygen deficiency or hazardous atmosphere does or is reasonably expected to exist.
5 FeetExcavations less than five feet in depth do not require a protective system if the competent person examines and determines there is no potential for a cave-in.
6 FeetGuardrails are required on walkways that are over excavations six feet or more above lower levels.
18 InchesTrench boxes must extend 18 inches above the top of the vertical sides of the excavation.
19.5 PercentA minimum of 19.5% oxygen must be present before employees can enter an excavation greater than four feet in depth.
20 FeetSloping, benching, or timber and aluminum hydraulic shoring for excavations greater than 20 feet must be designed by a registered professional engineer.
24 HoursSimple slope excavations in Type A soil that are open for 24 hours or less (short-term) and that are 12 feet or less in depth must have a maximum allowable slope one-half horizontal to one vertical.
25 FeetA ladder, ramp or other safe means of egress shall be located in trench excavations that are four feet or more in depth so as to require no more than 25 feet of lateral travel for employees.

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