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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, excavation and trench-related fatalities in 2016 were nearly double the average of the previous five years. As part of our effort to reverse this trend, OSHA has established an Agency Priority Goal, which aims to reduce trenching and excavation hazards. OSHA’s goal is to increase awareness of trenching hazards in construction, educate employers and workers on safe cave-in prevention solutions, and decrease the number of trench collapses. OSHA plans to issue public service announcements, encourage participation in the 2018 Trench Safety Stand-Down, update online resources on trench safety, and update OSHA’s trenching and excavation national emphasis program.

A poster is now available to promote Trench Safety Stand Down Week, June 18-23, led by the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA), the North American Excavation Shoring Association (NAXSA), and OSHA. The attached poster has more information, and can be shared and posted where anyone who might be involved in trenching and excavation operations will see it. Those who may benefit from participating in the Trench Safety Stand Down include construction companies that engage in trenching operations, plumbers, the military, unions, associations, educational institutions, safety professionals, and safety equipment manufacturers.

Resources are available on the website, including suggestions about how to prepare for a successful stand down. Examples of what companies can do to participate include conducting a Toolbox Talk (available in English and Spanish), training, or another activity.

Every company or organization that participates will receive a certificate, hard hat stickers for all employees who participated, and recognition in a press release as well as NUCA and NAXSA publications.