Environmental Health & Safety
Supporting the campus community by proactively protecting people, property and the environment in a responsible and cost effective manner.

Trenching and Shoring

Section 1

Trenching and Shoring Quick Guide


  • What is a Trench?
    1. A narrow excavation that is deeper than it is wide
    2. No more than 15 feet wide at the bottom

  • What type of factors affect the trench?
    1. Soil Strength
    2. Soil Type

  • What type of soil(s) are at UCI?
    1. There are 3 type of Soil: Class A, Class B, Class C
    2. UCI is considered Class C, unless classified if differently by a Competent Person. No soil at UCI will be classified as Type A.

  • What does a competent person do?
    1. Initial Classification of soil and trench
    2. Ability to test for hazards
    3. Daily inspection of trench
    4. Inspects trench as required or after any condition changes
    5. Has authority of Stop work

  • How do I enter/exit a trench?
    1. A ladder/ramp/stair may be used
    2. An egress must be provided ever 25 ft. off lateral travel

What you need to know

  • The Trench must be inspected by the competent person daily before any my enter
  • Never enter a trench filled with water or if open utilities are showing
  • Competent Person requirements: contact the FM Safety Coordinator (824-5066) or EH&S (824-9940)
  • Training requirements:
    • Awareness level – offered online or in-person class
    • Competent Person – contact EH&S for assistance


PPE requirements

  • The requirements will vary according to each confined space so please contact EHS for clarification but the basic PPE needs will consist of the following: Hard Hat, Protective boots/shoes, Googles/Safety glasses, Protective clothing, and protective gloves. Additional PPE Requirements (Entry specific): Harness, Tripod, Respirator
  • Hazardous Atmosphere Equipment: 4-Gas meter, air blower/ventilation
*Always consult with EHS and/or the competent person for trench-specific PPE requirements*


  • 4-Gas meters are only to be used by trained personnel. Otherwise a representative from EHS must be present to verify gas readings. Meters must be calibrated before use and in current annual calibration requirements.
  • All equipment shall be inspected before use to verify it is in good condition
  • Never enter a trench unless cleared by the competent person
  • Traffic control shall be used in area where there is traffic
  • Trench will be benched or shored as required by soil type and depth. (Competent person will make that decision)
  • Utilities shall be checked and marked ahead of project by checking with Dig Alert.

Purchasing guidelines

  • If you have questions on trench shoring or other equipment, please check with EHS prior to purchase