According to a recent press release from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 22 workers have died in the first half of 2022 as a result of the hazards present in trenching and excavation work, prompting OSHA to launch enhanced enforcement initiatives to protect workers. In keeping with its National Emphasis Program for excavations, OSHA compliance officers will perform more than 1,000 trench inspections nationwide where they may visit and inspect any excavation site during their daily duties.

In light of the startling statistics that OSHA has presented regarding trench-related fatalities, ABC is encouraged that OSHA has announced enhanced initiatives to address trench safety. “Safety is the No. 1 priority for ABC and our 21,000 member companies, and ABC is constantly educating our members and their employees on concerning safety trends,” said Greg Sizemore, ABC vice president of HSE and workforce development, in a statement. “Clearly, trench safety needs additional focus and education. It is imperative that field team members work with safety professionals to ensure zero harm for all construction workers.”

“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is calling on all employers engaged in trenching and excavation activities to act immediately to ensure that required protections are fully in place every single time their employees step down into or work near a trench,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “In a matter of seconds, workers can be crushed and buried under thousands of pounds of soil and rocks in an unsafe trench. The alarming increase in the number of workers needlessly dying and suffering serious injuries in trenching incidents must be stopped.”

OSHA’s trenching and excavation webpage provides additional information on trenching hazards and solutions, including a safety video.