Skip to main content

Oregon State Flag An official website of the State of Oregon »


Topic index


Dig a hole in the ground and you have made an excavation. Excavations can be any size: wide, narrow, deep, or shallow. A trench is an excavation, too, but it is not more than 15 feet wide at the bottom. And, if you install forms or other structures in an excavation that reduce its width to less than 15 feet, measured at the bottom, the excavation is also considered a trench.

  • If you work in an excavation that is five feet deep (or deeper), you must be protected from a cave-in.
  • If a competent person determines that there is a potential for an excavation to cave-in, you must be protected regardless of its depth.
  • Brochures/Guides
  • Catalogs
    • Public Education Workshop Schedule July-December
      Schedule for in-person and virtual workshop classes around the state during July through December. Attending an Oregon OSHA class helps you gain important knowledge and skills.
      English  02/13/2024
    • Video Library new arrivals
      New safety & health videos available to borrow from the Resource Center AV Library.
      English  05/10/2024
  • Fact sheets
    • Excavation safety: requirements for competent persons
      Describes the excavation requirements for a competent person to perform specific actions such as analyzing, classifying, determining, designing, evaluating, inspecting, monitoring, and ensuring employees are removed from hazardous areas.
      English  03/20/2024
  • Hazard alerts
  • References
    • Rules with requirements
      We get many calls and emails from employers asking the same question. It begins: “Which of your rules have requirements for…” You can finish the sentence with words like “recordkeeping,” “employee training,” and “written documents.” To answer those questions, we’ve organized these rules requirements into a filterable, sortable, searchable table.
      English  05/10/2019

No items are currently available

Borrow from the Resource Center

Watch Online

  • English
    • Trench cave-in
      An Oregon OSHA compliance officers happened by this jobsite without trench shoring, and recorded his request to have the worker get out of the unsafe trench. Moments after that conversation started, the trench collapsed.
      Length: English  

Additional Resources

Call 811 before you dig - Oregon Utility Notification Center

Technical Manual, Section V: Construction Operations,
Chapter 2: Excavations: Hazard Recognition in Trenching and Shoring