OSHA Training Requirements - Excavations

This website is not the official or final authority to determine OSHA compliance responsibilities, which are set forth in OSHA standards themselves, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Because OSHA regulations are constantly being added, deleted, and/or revised, you must not rely on this website as the official or final authority of OSHA training requirements; refer to the official OSHA regulations available on OSHA’s website (osha.gov).  -  See disclaimers.


1926.650 – 1926.652 – Excavations


1926.651 – Specific Excavation Requirements

(c)(1)(i) - Structural ramps that are used solely by employees as a means of access or egress from excavations shall be designed by a competent person. Structural ramps used for access or egress of equipment shall be designed by a competent person qualified in structural design, and shall be constructed in accordance with the design.

(h)(2) - If water is controlled or prevented from accumulating by the use of water removal equipment, the water removal equipment and operations shall be monitored by a competent person to ensure proper operation.

(h)(3) - If excavation work interrupts the natural drainage of surface water (such as streams), diversion ditches, dikes, or other suitable means shall be used to prevent surface water from entering the excavation and to provide adequate drainage of the area adjacent to the excavation. Excavations subject to runoff from heavy rains will require an inspection by a competent person and compliance with paragraphs (h)(1) and (h)(2) of this section.

(i)(2) - Excavation below the level of the base or footing of any foundation or retaining wall that could be reasonably expected to pose a hazard to employees shall not be permitted except when:

(iii) - A registered professional engineer has approved the determination that the structure is sufficiently removed from the excavation so as to be unaffected by the excavation activity; or

(iv) - A registered professional engineer has approved the determination that such excavation work will not pose a hazard to employees.

(k) - Inspections.

(1) - Daily inspections of excavations, the adjacent areas, and protective systems shall be made by a competent person for evidence of a situation that could result in possible cave-ins, indications of failure of protective systems, hazardous atmospheres, or other hazardous conditions. An inspection shall be conducted by the competent person prior to the start of work and as needed throughout the shift. Inspections shall also be made after every rainstorm or other hazard increasing occurrence. These inspections are only required when employee exposure can be reasonably anticipated.

(2) - Where the competent person finds evidence of a situation that could result in a possible cave-in, indications of failure of protective systems, hazardous atmospheres, or other hazardous conditions, exposed employees shall be removed from the hazardous area until the necessary precautions have been taken to ensure their safety.


1926.652 - Requirements for Protective Systems.

(a) - Protection of employees in excavations.

(1) - Each employee in an excavation shall be protected from cave-ins by an adequate protective system designed in accordance with paragraph (b) or (c) of this section except when:

(ii) - Excavations are less than 5 feet (1.52 m) in depth and examination of the ground by a competent person provides no indication of a potential cave-in.

(b)(3) - Designs using other tabulated data.

(iii) - At least one copy of the tabulated data which identifies the registered professional engineer who approved the data, shall be maintained at the jobsite during construction of the protective system. After that time the data may be stored off the jobsite, but a copy of the data shall be made available to the Secretary upon request.

(b)(4) - Option (4) - Design by a registered professional engineer.

(i) - Sloping and benching systems not utilizing Option (1) or Option (2) or Option (3) under paragraph (b) of this section shall be approved by a registered professional engineer.

(c)(4) - Option (4) - Design by a registered professional engineer.

(i) - Support systems, shield systems, and other protective systems not utilizing Option 1, Option 2 or Option 3, above, shall be approved by a registered professional engineer.

(d)(3) - When material or equipment that is used for protective systems is damaged, a competent person shall examine the material or equipment and evaluate its suitability for continued use. If the competent person cannot assure the material or equipment is able to support the intended loads or is otherwise suitable for safe use, then such material or equipment shall be removed from service, and shall be evaluated and approved by a registered professional engineer before being returned to service.


1926 Subpart P – Appendix  A : Soil Classification (mandatory)

(c) Requirements

(1) Classification of soil and rock deposits. Each soil and rock deposit shall be classified by a competent person as Stable Rock, Type A, Type B, or Type C in accordance with the definitions set forth in paragraph (b) of this appendix.

(5) Reclassification. If, after classifying a deposit, the properties, factors, or conditions affecting its classification change in any way, the changes shall be evaluated by a competent person. The deposit shall be reclassified as necessary to reflect the changed circumstances.





Find an OSHA Trainer for Excavation Competent Person





Online OSHA Training


OSHA Training wallet card 


There is no faster way to get your OSHA training!