OSHA Subpart P was promulgated starting in 1970 when Federal OSHA was established and adopted it as a “National Consensus Standard” in 1989. At that point it became a law that employers had to adhere to and could be cited for violating it. In my personal opinion, the standard has been extremely successful given the landscape prior to its passing and has remained relatively unchanged by Federal OSHA.  The standard remains today the prevailing source document for excavation safety requirements in most states. Despite the success there have always been gray areas where certain issues are left undefined or left up to the “discretion of the user” provided the user gets it “correct”.

At this point in time we are in the process of developing a presentation that looks at critical parts of Subpart P-Excavations from several different angles, what the standard is intended to do, and how it can be interpreted from a practical, engineering and a legal perspective. The lecture is titled:



In a full day presentation it would discuss critical issues on the following topics:

  1. Subpart P-General Overview
  2. 1926.651-Specific Excavation Requirements.
  3. 1926.652-Requirements for protective systems.
  4. 1926 Subpart P- Appendix A- Soil Classification
  5. 1926 Subpart P Appendix B-F
  6. Structural Design and Manufacture of Shoring Equipment
  7. Shoring System Selection Criteria
  8. New Trends in the Shoring Industry
  9. Standards for Review and Acceptance of Contractor Submitted Shoring Plans
  10. Subpart P, Shoring Systems, and Litigation


The material is considered advanced competent person training and will give a complete overview of the requirements and implications of Subpart P-Excavations. The lecture should be of interest to all construction managers and excavation project design engineers. A contractor’s project managers and estimating team should come away with a complete understanding of subpart P, the level of training that their workers should have regarding excavation safety, the subject of shoring systems and the technical and legal problems that can develop. It is a discussion of the critical elements and language of the standard not a reading and teaching of it.  The attendee, whether from a construction firm, a  government entity or an engineering design firm that designs, manages and inspects heavy construction, will gain insight into the contractor’s thought and management process as it relates to excavation safety and shoring.  The overarching theme of “how do I meet my contractual obligations regarding excavation safety” is stressed throughout the discussions.

The lecture format is book and power point, however; it will favor open discussion and Q&A around specific topics that the attendees have particular interest in. In the past I have had sessions where a contractor is focused on a particular upcoming project or on a project where there has been an incident that they want to prevent from happening again in the future. The outline and book becomes a starting point but where it ends up is up to the attendees.

The presentation length can be tailored to each customers needs with most classes scheduled for up to 8 hours and some may be as short as just a few hours. Depending on presentation times, available topics can be chosen from the outline. In depth questions and discussion of any topic is encouraged.  The session can be tailored to the needs and interests of the attendees.  The entire lecture book is part of the handout material regardless of the topics discussed.

Depending on the jurisdiction requirements, continuing education credits should be available. As long as participants have a general knowledge of construction and excavation work there is no other prerequisite knowledge required.

About the Speaker

In a lifetime career a construction manager might have worked for a half dozen contractors, managed many large excavation projects, and been exposed to even more different excavation shoring schemes. A career as a construction engineer specializing in excavation and shoring exposes the engineer to hundreds of different contractors and thousands of different shoring projects. I bring knowledge of all of these different management approaches and solutions to excavation shoring and safety problems to the lecture to share with anyone that is interested. This lecture is a place where a person can definitely learn from the mistakes of others.

I have been heavily involved in the excavation industry since 1980, first as an engineering construction manager doing estimating and project management of water treatment facility construction and pipeline construction. From 1990 thru 2005 I developed a construction engineering firms that focused on shoring system design. I have also worked with several major manufacturers of shoring equipment to develop new shoring equipment.  In 2007 I wrote the book Excavation Systems Planning, Design, and Safety, which was published by McGraw Hill. In 2014 I joined National Trench safety as their Director of Engineering.  From 1990 to present I have also worked on over 20 cases as an expert witness in excavation and shoring related litigation.

Setting up a lecture date

Fees and expenses vary depending on the location, time and amount of persons attending. The lecture can be held at any location where speaking and seating facilities are available. Contact your local NTS branch office to begin the planning process.


About the Author: Joe Turner, P.E. serves as National Trench Safety’s Director of Engineering, Research and Product Development.  Mr. Turner is one of the most recognized figures in the trench safety industry, having provided trench safety plans for the last 20 years.  Among his many accomplishments, is the book Excavation Systems, Design, Planning and Safety, which was published by McGraw-Hill in 2008 and is still used today as a reference for many students and professionals regarding proper engineering techniques.

DISCLAIMER: the information contained in this article is provided for general and illustrative purposes only and is not to be considered Site Specific and or designated engineering for any project or work zone, nor is it to be used or consider to be tabulated data, technical data, advice and or counsel to be used on any jobsite.  Each project is different and is the responsibility of the employer’s designated Competent Person to make decisions upon what systems and methods may be used in compliance with the federal and local regulations, manufactures tabulated data, engineered drawings and other plans.

2018-05-24T15:33:10+01:00July 17th, 2017|