SALES: 1-844-255-7932 | SUPPORT: 1-800-586-3784

Become an OSHA-compliant competent person with our online Competent Person: Excavation & Trench training. Prepare to identify, control and correct common hazards during excavation operations.

From trench collapses to ruptured utility lines, excavation sites expose workers to many dangers. Prevent serious injuries and fatal accidents with a 100% online course. Our course satisfies OSHA competent person training requirements for construction outlined in 29 CFR 1926.32(f). Download your certificate of completion as soon as you finish.

OSHA Competent Person: Excavation & Trench Course Details

Training Standards

Satisfies Training Standards for:

29 CFR 1926.32(f)

Industry Workers

Designed for:

Competent Persons in Construction Who Identify, Control and Correct Excavation Safety Hazards

100% Online


100% Online Course

Certification Icon


Digital Certificate of Completion

Excavation & Trench Competent Person Training Benefits

Benefits of our training course include:

  • 100% Online
  • Compliant with 29 CFR 1926.32(f)
  • Instant Course Certificate Download
  • Multiple Excavation Safety Case Studies
  • Bulk Discounts Available

Who Needs Excavation & Trench Competent Person Training?

During excavation or trench operations, employers on construction sites may be required to designate an OSHA-compliant competent person. Competent persons are tasked with minimizing hazards within their area of expertise.

Excavation and trench competent person training may be required for:

  • Construction workers
  • Utility installers
  • Municipal workers
  • Mining and drilling specialists
  • Landscapers
  • Road crews
  • Environmental workers
  • Archeologists and paleontologists
  • Emergency responders
  • And more

A competent person for excavation and trench hazards must identify, control and correct hazards during a variety of trenching and digging tasks. Trench excavation projects include installing underground utilities, building foundations, shoring operations and retention systems.

This course prepares you to serve as a designated OSHA competent person for excavation hazards. You can instantly download a certificate of completion as soon as you complete this online training.

Testing Requirements

Competent Person: Excavation & Trench requires students to successfully complete a series of knowledge checks and interactive activities before passing a final exam.

Students must score at least 80% on a 50-question final exam to pass the course. The test is multiple-choice and comprehensive. It draws questions from a bank of 100 questions covering all course modules. Students may take the final exam up to three times. After three failed attempts, students must purchase the course again and start over.

During Module 2, students will complete a knowledge check consisting of 10 fictional scenarios to assess knowledge of OSHA trench excavation safety requirements in the construction industry.

Modules 3 and 4 each offer 10 illustrated interactive scenarios. These activities help learners identify trench excavation risks and imminent threats to worker safety. Following each scene, students will select proper corrective action for each identified hazard.

Course Learning Objectives

After completing Competent Person: Excavation & Trench, students will be able to:

  • Define what a competent person is and explain the importance of this role in excavation safety
  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of OSHA standards and regulations related to excavations, including federal OSHA standards and industry best practices
  • Identify common excavation hazards likely to be encountered on construction sites and corrective measures to reduce the risk of injury or death
  • Outline the skills needed to make informed decisions and take prompt corrective measures to eliminate hazards
  • Communicate effectively with coworkers, supervisors and other stakeholders regarding excavation safety measures

Course Outline

Competent Person: Excavation & Trench offers 3.5 hours of OSHA-compliant safety instruction. Students will study the common hazards encountered during trenching and digging operations and learn how to correct them. Topics include soil stability, cave-ins, access and egress, shoring and hazardous atmospheres.

This course also covers the communication and leadership skills needed to succeed as a competent person. Students will learn how to lead by example and demonstrate safe work practices.

Module 1: Introduction to Competent Persons and Excavation Safety

Topics covered in Module 1 include:

  • Becoming a competent person
  • OSHA definitions
  • Types of excavation protective systems
  • Soil classification and testing
  • The importance of competent persons for excavation safety
  • A real-world scenario
  • Dangers of being a competent person

Learning objectives include:

  • Define a competent person and the importance of this role in excavation work

Module 2: Understanding and Applying OSHA Excavation Safety Standards

Topics covered in Module 2 include:

  • OSHA 1926 Subpart P standards
  • Hazardous atmosphere case study
  • Trench collapse case study
  • Improper access and egress case study
  • Practice exercises

Learning objectives include:

  • Understand OSHA standards for excavations
  • Analyze real-life case studies

Module 3: Identifying Excavation Hazards

Topics covered in Module 3 include:

  • Common excavation hazards on construction sites
  • Identifying and communicating excavation hazards
  • Hazard identification activities: What’s wrong with this picture?

Learning objectives include:

  • Learn how to identify existing and predictable hazards in excavation work

Module 4: Taking Action

Topics covered in Module 4 include:

  • Taking action and using appropriate authority
  • Hazard identification review: identifying corrective actions
  • When does a competent person become legally liable?
  • What factors determine legal liability?

Learning objectives include:

  • Describe prompt corrective measures competent persons can take to eliminate hazards
  • Understand the legal liability of a competent person

Competent Person: Excavation & Trench Training FAQs

Does this course satisfy OSHA training requirements for a competent person?

Yes. The OSHA standard for competent persons is defined in 29 CFR 1926.32(f). This course is compliant with that standard and covers regulations for excavation safety found in OSHA 1926 Subpart P.

What is an OSHA competent person?

OSHA defines a competent person as a designated individual who:

  • Knows and understands safety standards
  • Can identify hazards
  • Is authorized to prevent and correct those hazards

Under 29 CFR 1926.32(f), certain workplaces, including construction sites, must designate an OSHA-compliant competent person to mitigate common hazards. This individual must have the knowledge and authority to correct unsafe conditions.

Unsupervised trench excavation may result in cave-ins, leaks, utility breaches and other potentially fatal accidents. A properly trained competent person can intervene to prevent disaster.

What is excavation competent person training?

Any employee can become a competent person. Competent persons must demonstrate appropriate training in any of OSHA’s safety standards. Competent Person: Excavation & Trench covers the standards found in OSHA 1926 Subpart P. That subpart details safety regulations for trenching and digging operations on a construction site.

Trenches and other dig sites are dangerous environments. Workers face cave-ins, stuck-by hazards, falls and even electrocution. Confined spaces may cause asphyxiation or expose individuals to toxic fumes or flammable gasses. Using OSHA regulations and ANSI guidelines, this course prepares you to identify, communicate and correct hazards related to excavation and trench construction.

This course also prepares you for the responsibility of serving as a competent person. You will learn how to communicate hazard information to coworkers, supervisors and managers. Master the skills needed to design appropriate controls and implement a safety plan. Promote a culture of workplace safety by acting with appropriate authority.

How long does the course take to complete?

This course takes at least 3.5 hours to complete. Competent Person: Excavation & Trench includes four lesson modules, several activities, multiple quizzes and a comprehensive exam.

Can I complete competent person training online?

Yes. This training program is fully online. You do not have to visit a classroom or testing center to complete any portion of the course. You can start and stop lessons at any time from any internet-connected device. Study, complete activities, take quizzes and even pass the final exam online.

All lesson materials are available 24/7. Download and print your certificate of completion as soon as you pass the final exam.

Does Competent Person: Excavation & Trench provide an OSHA certificate?

OSHA requires certain businesses to designate a competent person. However, OSHA does not provide official certification for competent persons.

You will earn a certificate of completion immediately after you finish the course. You may download and print your certificate as many times as you like.

This training is compliant with 29 CFR 1926.32(f). Your certificate of completion indicates that you are eligible to serve as a competent person for trenching and digging hazards.

How long is Competent Person: Excavation & Trench training valid?

Your certificate will never expire. OSHA does not require a formal retraining period. However, it is highly suggested that you repeat competent person training every three years.

Refresher training helps you remember crucial details and keep up with changes to industry regulations. Best practices change over time. Frequent retraining also prevents potential liability for outdated safety information.

Related Courses

Additional Links and Resources