Utilities and contractors have compelling reasons to take trench safety seriously. Not only is the industry facing an upward trend in trench and excavation fatalities, but organizations which run afoul of OSHA’s trench and excavation regulations risk being fined or even shut down.
Companies can dig themselves out of unnecessary danger by following proper safety procedures and installing appropriate protective systems when necessary. Even in the face of all-too-real time and cost constraints, it pays to play it safe.
There’s one simple step that can make trench and excavation work less hazardous.
“The single most important measure for preventing cave-ins when working in trenches is designating a competent person and making sure that person is adequately trained,” said Joe Wise, regional customer training manager, Trench Safety, at United Rentals.
OSHA requires the designation of a competent person to classify soil, choose an appropriate protective system if needed, identify potential hazards and conduct inspections, among other duties. The person must have authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate any identified hazards.
Anyone deemed a competent person should know the information in the infographic below, but it’s smart for everyone in the trenches to brush up on safety requirements.
“The challenges of trenching and excavation jobsite safety are something companies face every day,” said Todd Hayes, region vice president, Trench Safety, United Rentals. “Everyone working at these sites needs to be knowledgeable about trench safety practices.”
Here are some of the most important numbers to know.