The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed a series of compliance assistance resources to help keep workers safe from trenching and excavation hazards. OSHA’s goal is to increase awareness of trenching hazards in construction, educate job creators and workers on safe cave-in prevention solutions, and decrease the number of trench collapses. Trench-related injuries are preventable when workers are properly trained and the required protections are in place.
These resources, which continue the goals of the department’s recently announced Office of Compliance Initiatives (OCI), encourage and facilitate compliance evaluations:
- U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta recorded audio public service announcements in English and Spanish that highlight effective ways to stay safe when working around trenches and excavations. A 45-second video, “5 Things You Should Know to Stay Safe,” also highlights well-known and proven safety measures that can eliminate hazards and prevent worker injuries.
- An updated trenching operations QuickCard available in English and Spanish, includes information on daily inspections and trench wall safety.
- OSHA’s revised “Protect Workers in Trenches” poster provides a quick reminder of the three ways to prevent dangerous trench collapses: SLOPE, or bench trench walls; SHORE, trench walls with supports, or SHIELD; trench walls with trench boxes. The poster is available in English and Spanish.
- An updated trenching and excavation webpage provides additional information on trenching hazards and solutions.
OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program provides valuable services for job creators that are separate from enforcement. The agency program contributes $1.3 billion to the national economy each year, according to recent.analysis. Job creators who implement workplace improvements can reduce lost time due to injuries and illnesses, improve employee morale, increase productivity, and lower workers’ compensation insurance premiums.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance.
OCI fosters a compliance assistance culture within the Department of Labor’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy and is designed to complement its ongoing enforcement efforts. In August 2018, OCI launched Worker.gov and Employer.gov to provide information about workers’ rights and the responsibilities of job creators toward their workers.