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Excavation Hazard Recognition- OSHA Standards

John Huang, Ph.D., PE and John Poullain, PE

This two-hour online course provides general guidelines for recognizing the potential hazards of excavation and trenching operations and measures to prevent or reduce exposure to the hazards. Course topics include the OSHA standards for safety in excavation, the importance of excavation preplanning and the kinds of excavation that do not apply. The text discusses selection of systems used to protect against cave-ins and other hazards of excavation such as falling debris, open excavation falls and hazardous atmospheres. Primary soil types, basic soil mechanics and other contributing factors such as the water table and its effect on excavation stability are discussed. Safe installation and removal of protective systems, access and egress requirements and site inspections are presented.

Factors, which affect the stability of excavations, include the types of soil, depth of cut, slope of cut, subsidence of soil and surcharges. Using maximum allowable slopes and/or benching and shoring or shielding systems provides protection from cave-ins and other open excavation hazards. OSHA standards categorize soils according to their overall composition, appearance and the presence of any cracks, fissures or seepage water. Spoil material from an excavation must be properly placed in order to maintain excavation stability. The weight of spoil material can cause cave-ins or fall onto workers in an excavation.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.