Trench/Excavation Inspection Checklist



Trenches and excavations pose hazards to both the workers who work inside them and those on the surface. For example, these confined spaces can suffer cave-ins or collapses and trap workers inside. In addition, workers on the surface can fall into trenches if there aren’t proper barricades erected. So it’s important to inspect trenches and excavations before workers start work in them. In fact, the OHS laws may require such inspections.


Adapt this checklist based on your company’s OHS program and the requirements in your jurisdiction’s OHS law on trenches and excavations. Require a supervisor or other “competent person” to use this checklist to inspect all trenches and excavations BEFORE workers begin work inside of them. Any issues identified in the inspection must be addressed before workers start work. And keep the completed forms to document that you conducted such inspections.


The hazards and OHS requirements specific to trenches and excavations.

Safety Smart has a section devoted to trenching safety that includes safety talks, articles, e-learning courses and fatality reports. Not a Safety Smart member? Sign up for a free trial.

At, you can buy a poster to remind workers to dig safely.