In the first six months of 2022, trenching and excavation related incidents have claimed the lives of 22 workers across the U.S., prompting the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to launch a new set of enforcement initiatives to protect workers from preventable incidents and known hazards. The recent uptick in trench-related fatalities comes as a shock after 15 similar incidents were reported in all of 2021.
OSHA compliance officers plan to perform over 1,000 trench inspections nationwide, and the administration will also offer safety summits in all of its 10 regions to provide further education on workplace safety practices.
“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 Health and Safety 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.”