This week is 2019 Trench Safety Stand Down Week. OSHA is supporting this event, which is sponsored by the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA), the North American Excavation Shoring Association (NAXSA), the Trench Shoring and Shielding Association (TSSA) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
Excavation and trenching continue to be some of the most dangerous construction activities. There have been five excavation fatalities in Michigan between 2013 and 2017. For each fatal incident, there are dozens of excavation accidents resulting in serious injuries.
When done safely, trenching operations can reduce worker exposure to cave-ins, falling loads, hazardous atmospheres and hazards from mobile equipment. OSHA standards require that trenches and protective systems be inspected daily and as conditions change by a competent person before work begins.
Never enter a trench unless:
- It has been properly inspected by a competent person.
- Cave-in protection measures are in place.
- There is a safe way to enter and exit.
- Equipment and materials are way from the edge.
- It is free of standing water and atmospheric hazards.
Prevent trench collapses:
- Trenches 5 feet deep or greater require a protective system.
- Trenches 20 feet deep or greater require a protective system designed by a registered professional engineer.
Protective systems for trenches:
- SLOPE or bench trench walls by cutting back the trench wall at an angle inclined away from the excavation.
- SHORE trench walls by installing aluminum hydraulic or other types of supports to prevent soil movement.
- SHIELD trench walls by using trench boxes or other types of supports to prevent soil cave-ins.
Lee Contracting continues our commitment to safety by participating in this important safety stand down week. Many foundations department members and safety representatives attended the CAMTEC (Construction Association of Michigan Training and Education Center) excavation, trenching and shoring class. All our on-site crews participated in a weekly toolbox talk to be aware of and eliminate excavation and trenching hazards.
Contact us today or call us at (888) 833-8776 to learn how Lee Contracting can benefit your next project.