When planning excavations, provide appropriate safeguards. Doing so reduces the chance that something will go wrong. Before you start excavating, take time to clear surface debris near the excavation site that could potentially create a hazard. Keep a careful eye on the weather conditions before excavating. If rain is likely, postpone the job. Check the stability of the soil at the excavation site.

Ensure that you are aware of the location of underground utility lines and overhead power lines. Vehicle traffic near the excavation site should be kept to minimum. Structures adjacent to the excavation site should also be checked for soundness.

Plan how workers will get in and out of the excavation site. Know and monitor which vehicles and other mobile equipment will operate near the excavation site. Keep a close eye on how atmospheric conditions will affect the excavation job. You should also be aware of how water accumulation could impact the excavation.

A dedicated, competent person should be assigned to be on site in order to classify the soil, select a protective system, oversee installation, and inspect the system after installation. If no hazards exist, the competent person may leave the site until the protective system is moved, at which time he should be present again.