Excavation Safety Competent Person: Advanced Skills Training

This class can be taught either at your location or we also offer this program as an open-enrollment class.Register Now!

Two Day Mastery-Level class for Excavation Safety Competent Person Advanced Skills

This two-day Mastery-Level class is intended to provide advanced training that is often required on some government projects. This class covers the same information found in our Basic Skills class, but places an added emphasis on letters of interpretation, compliance directives, and application of the standard.

Excavations are associated with a wide variety of hazards. While cave-ins may kill and injure hundreds each year, electrocutions, hazardous atmospheres, falling loads, and vehicles also take their toll.

To protect workers OSHA requires an employer-designated competent person on every excavation site.

A Competent Person, according to OSHA codes, is someone who can identify existing and predictable hazards and who has the authority to stop the job and take corrective action.

Excavation Safety Competent Person Training

Excavation Safety Competent Person class setting up a trench shield


To do this, a Competent Person must be able to:

  • Ensure utilities have been located.
  • Identify and manage hazards posed by surface encumbrances.
  • Conduct a visual assessment of the dig site.
  • Manage surcharge loads.
  • Properly install or construct protective systems following OSHA codes or tabulated data.
  • Manage water intrusion.
  • Conduct a routine safety inspection.
  • Ensure safe air in the excavation.

This course can help ensure the safety of anyone who works in or around excavations.

It covers the latest industry practices and regulatory requirements

This course generally runs two days. For locations that require less training, we also offer a one-day basic skills class.


Excavation Basics

  • Welcome
  • Pre-test
  • Hazards and General Safety Requirements
  • Introduction to the Excavation Standards

Basic Soil Mechanics

  • Lateral Earth Pressure
  • Anatomy of a collapse
  • Signs of Distress
  • Cave-in causes and factors

Soil Classification

  • Cohesion and Friction
  • Soil Types
  • Testing Soils
  • Determining Soil Types

Protective Systems

  • OSHA Requirements
  • Sloping and Benching
  • Hydraulic Shoring: Tabulated Data
  • Shields: Tabulated Data


  • Water Hazards
  • Pumps and well points
  • Berms and Dykes

Hazardous Atmospheres

  • Causes
  • Testing and Ventilation
  • Trenches and Confined Spaces

Excavation Safety Planning

  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • Company and Employee Responsibilities
  • Contractors

Emergency Planning

  • Local Capabilities
  • Access and Scene Control

Course Review

  • Questions/Answers
  • Final Exam

Excavation: Competent Person Training

When you open an excavation you must follow OSHA requirements as specified in 29 CFR 1926.651 and 1926.652. This includes designating a Competent Person. According to OSHA, a Competent Person is defined as someone who identify excavation hazards and who has the authority to take whatever corrective actions are required.

There are many possible hazards associated with digging operations. In addition, excavations often occur in the middle of other construction projects which may also be creating hazards. Competent Persons must be able to assess both existing hazards and those that are likely in the future based on job site conditions.

Once these hazards have been identified Competent Persons must also have the authority to take corrective actions. The type of corrective action needed is a function of the hazard. But the ultimate corrective action is to remove workers from hazards. This means the Competent Person for Excavations must have the authority to order any and all exposed workers out of the excavation until the hazard can be mitigated. In other words, they have to have been given the work site authority to stop the job.

Our Excavation Safety Competent Person program focuses on helping students be able to identify hazards associated with excavating such as hazardous atmospheres, water intrusion, surcharge loads, and falling loads. We explain how soils fail and how to recognize signs that soil is about to fail. We discuss factors that make the soil more likely to fail and simple manual tests that can be done to determine the soil type. Hide

With our extensive industry expertise and proven curricula, we can provide you with an effective learning path so that you can fulfill your work site safety responsibilities.

Excavation Safety Training: Course Flow

Our excavation competent person training opens with a basic discussion of trench and excavation safety. We look at accident statistics and basic types of excavations and trenches. We then talk about soil mechanics and trench failure patterns. Protective systems, excavation safety planning, inspections, de-watering, underground utilities, and emergencies are also covered.

No matter your current skill level, D2000 Safety can solve your excavation training needs. Sign up today and find out just how effective the D2000 approach to safety is.

Other D2000 Safety Training Includes:

  • Confined Space Training - Entrant, Attendant, Entry Supervisor, Train the Trainer.
  • Excavation Safety Competent Person - Basic Skills Training, Advanced Skills Training, and Train the Trainer.
  • Fall Protection Training - User, Competent Person, Train the Trainer
  • Forklift Safety - Operator Certification, Improvement Programs, Train the Trainer
Jim Johnson March 7, 2016
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