While extremely common in residential, commercial, and industrial developments where there are no existing utility lines, the process of electrical trenching and excavating can be dangerous if not performed by professionals. While this is not a comprehensive list, it will provide some insight into common electrical trenching and excavation accidents, and safety precautions to avoid them.  


Common Electrical Trenching and Excavation Accidents 

While you typically won’t be doing electrical excavations without a professional team, there are 3 main excavation accidents and risk factors to know about: 

  1. Cave-ins – cave-ins occur when the earth removed while digging falls into the workspace. This is the most seen excavating accident. 
  2. Confined Space Hazards – When you dig, the atmosphere can change rapidly. Low oxygen levels, exposure to toxic gasses, and even flooding can occur within seconds depending on how deep you go, and your surrounding environment. 
  3. Underground Utilities – Always call before you dig! There are many utilities running underground that can cause serious injury (like shock and death). 


Electrical Trenching and Excavation Safety Tips 

As we mentioned, you likely won’t be doing any electrical excavating or trenching on your own, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be well-versed in excavation safety. This is not a complete list, but are some things we consider to be the most important and things we do on every single job site! 

  1. Know your flags – typically, excavation sites are marked with a series of coloured flags indicating many things from white (proposed excavation) to red (electrical/lighting cables).  
  2. Install Signage – Mark off all trenches and excavation areas to prevent falls and keep employees protected. 
  3. Install Fencing – Fence off the excavation/trenching area to keep materials, and people from falling in.  
  4. Provide Safe Entry & Exit Points – If digging more than 4ft down, you must have ladders. These ladders should be extension ladders and not “A” frames.  
  5. Hire the right team – Such as RBT! We have the equipment, experience and knowledge to supply complete electrical trenching and excavating services.

Hire the Pros 

By providing excavation and trenching services, RBT can provide emergency services and eliminate the need to rent equipment or find and schedule subcontractors to do the work, providing this service can save our customers time and money.  Our trenching and excavating services include transformer vault installations, underground high and low-voltage trenching, installation of duct banks and the installation of concrete light standard bases. 

From the trench excavation to the final electrical inspection by the Electrical Safety Authority, RBT is a licensed Electrical Contractor adhering to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code (OESC) and all applicable Electrical Licensing Regulations, ensuring underground services/wiring is installed in a timely, compliant, and safe manner. Give us a call to get started!