Every year, there are over one hundred estimated fatalities associated with excavations and trenching operations, including cave-ins, contacts with electrical cables, equipment related accidents, improper rescues and utilities damages. In order for accident prevention programs to be effective in reducing injuries and fatalities in trenching operations, they must focus on those elements of the job environment that constitute the primary causes. Developing a database to identify the causes of fatalities in trenching operations is the first step in the development of effective intervention strategies. This paper will describe an industry-wide study on trench-related accidents using the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program, which involves on-site investigations where fatalities have occurred. Data collected from these investigations can help explain the factors that may be overlooked by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’s accident investigation summaries and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports. This paper will provide an overview of the chain of events that lead to excavation and trenching-related fatalities. The research study underlying this paper is funded through a grant from NIOSH to the Construction Safety Alliance (CSA).