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Course 802 - Trench and Excavation Safety

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Hi, and welcome to the course. If you are a safety manager, supervisor, committee member, or someone who is entering into the occupational safety and health field, this course will help you understand your important responsibilities.

Here's how it works (Read this... it's important!)

  1. Study each course module. Just click on the course "Modules" tab above to get started. It take about 30 minutes to one hour to complete each module, including the quiz.
  2. Complete each module quiz. Each quiz is 5-10 questions. When you submit the quiz, a new web page will load with instant feedback on your answers. After you complete the quiz, start on the next module. There is no need to wait! No hurry either. You are in control of the pace of learning.
  3. If you have questions as you study, just send us an email.

    Course 802 Certificate
    Frame not included.
  4. Order an Optional Certificate. If you want certification of your training, order a high quality certificate. Our training is free. We only charge a small fee to provide documentation of your training. If you are enrolled in one of our professional safety and health programs, you can save money by purchasing the program package that fits your needs. If you just want to purchase the certificate for this course, a link will be provided on your student dashboard after you pass the final exam. Just click on the "Purchase Certificate" Link.

    For individual courses, the PDF certificate is only $, the original certificate is $ (shipping extra), and the PDF & original certificate is $ (shipping extra).
  5. Complete and submit the final course exam.
    • Final exams consist of 20 questions.
    • To meet OSHA requirements, you must pass the final exam with at least a 70% score.
    • If you do not pass the exam, you may retake the exam.
    • If you pass the exam, you may not retake the exam just to raise your score.
    • Most final exam questions are derived from module quizzes.

OK, Let's go!

Have fun and study hard. To start, just click on "Introduction" above.

Course 802 Introduction

Course Introduction

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued its first Excavation and Trenching Standard in 1971 to protect workers from excavation hazards. Since then, OSHA has amended the standard several times to increase worker protection and to reduce the frequency and severity of excavation accidents and injuries. Despite these efforts, excavation related accidents resulting in injuries and fatalities continue to occur.

This course helps to address requirements of the standard, as well as provide information for equipment operators, workers and all others associated with trenching and excavating to help recognize hazardous conditions that could result in injury or a fatality. This guide discusses soil composition in moderate detail to provide a general overview of the various properties associated with different types of soil. A general understanding of the properties of soil is the first step in predicting the behavior of soils in varying conditions. Some of the most common types of soil conditions that lead to trench and excavation failure are also discussed.

Proper trenching operations are necessary to protect the workers from soil collapse. The basic trenching operations that help make a trench safe for workers are described and illustrated. The methods of shoring installation are also discussed briefly. This course is not intended to be used as a step-by-step guideline in the excavation process.

This course highlights the requirements in the updated standard for excavation and trenching operations, provides methods for protecting employees against cave-ins, and describes safe work practices for employees. A necessary first step in planning the approach to any trenching or other excavation project is to understand what could go wrong. This understanding can help avoid many of the problems associated with excavation.

This course is also not intended to be a guideline for compliance with all pertinent OSHA regulations, but rather an overview of safe practices in trenching operations. Though the course is not intended to be inconsistent with OSHA standards, if an area is considered by the reader to be inconsistent, the OSHA standard should be followed.

Special thanks to the North Carolina Department of Labor for the content of this course. Other sources include:

  • U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  • Oregon Department of Occupational Safety and Health (OR-OSHA)
  • Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation
  • Texas Department of Insurance
Go to the first module!

To begin your online study, just click on the "Modules" link above. To study off-line, click on the "Study Guide" link above and download the PDF study guide. Download Adobe Reader to open the study guide. The study guide is for your personal use only.


To begin your training, click on the module links below. If you are just starting this course, you should start with module 1.

  1. Scope and Application of OSHA Standard
  2. Common Soil Problems
  3. Soil Types and Pressures
  4. Methods of Protection
  5. Installation and Removal of Protective Systems
  6. Jobsite Safety and Worker Training

Course 802 Final Exam

OSHAcademy course final exams are designed to help ensure students demonstrate a sufficient understanding of the content covered within each course. To help demonstrate this understanding, students must achieve a minimum score of 70% on final exams. It is OSHAcademy's policy to protect the integrity of our exams and, as a result, we do not provide missed questions to students.

After you have studied all of the course material and taken the module quizzes, you can take the final exam. The module quizzes are optional, but we highly recommend you take each quiz, as the questions are similar to those on the final exam.

This is an open book exam. As you are taking the exam, if you find a question you are unsure of, you should use the course study guide or course web pages to research the correct answer. Don't worry if you fail the exam. You can study and retake the exam when you are ready.

If you have already paid for a Certificate Program

If you have already paid for your certificates, your exam score will be displayed in your student dashboard next to the course. You will also be able to view or print the course PDF certificate if you purchased this option. Your PDF transcript will also be automatically updated to include the course.

If you only want free training

You are welcome to take all of our courses for free! We only charge a fee if you want certificates, transcripts and exam scores to document your training. If you have not made a payment for your certificate, we will archive your exam results and you will see "Completed!" next to the course if you passed the exam. If you did not pass the exam with a score of 70% or higher, you will need to retake the exam.

Take the Final Exam

Take the Final Exam

Course 802 Study Guide. You can save this study guide to your computer for offline studying, or print the study guide if you prefer.