MIOSHA's Trench Safety Stand-Downs Focus on Education and Cave-In Prevention

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
Email: mediainfo@michigan.gov

June 22, 2018 - In recognition of Trench Safety Stand-Down Week, June 18-23, 2018, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA), along with construction employers and excavating contractors, held safety stand-down events to increase awareness of trenching hazards in construction, educate employers and workers on cave-in prevention solutions, and decrease the number of trench collapses.

“The safety stand-downs are an on-site opportunity to reach out to workers who work in and around trenches and excavations to provide them with information about current excavation requirements and safety procedures for working in trenches,” said MIOSHA Director Bart Pickelman. “We look forward to adding more excavation safety events next year.”  

Trench Cave-in preventionPickelman said that although excavation and trenching work is very dangerous, trenching work is not inherently unsafe if adequate precautions are taken and overseen by qualified personnel. The MIOSHA standard requires a Qualified Person to oversee all excavations and trenching job sites and they must conduct ongoing inspections of an excavation or trench.  Enforcement of the standards that apply to excavation and trenching workplaces receive attention consistent with the MIOSHA Strategic Plan.  Employers in the excavation industry must pursue the goal of 100 percent compliance with the MIOSHA standards and zero cave-in injuries and fatalities.

From 2013-2017, of MIOSHA-covered fatalities, there were four excavation and trench-related fatalities; year-to-date 2018, there has been one excavation-related fatality.  Nationally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports excavation and trench-related fatalities in 2016 were nearly double the average of the previous five years.

MIOSHA requires that workers in trenches and excavations be protected, and that safety and health programs address the variety of hazards they face.  MIOSHA’s Part 1. General Rules, Rule 114 requires an Accident Prevention Program at every construction work site. For more information regarding excavation training courses offered through the MIOSHA Training Institute, click here. MIOSHA’s Trenching and Excavation Protective Systems Fact Sheet is available here.  

Trench Safety Stand Down Week is sponsored by the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA), and the North American Excavation Shoring Association (NAXSA) with support provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

For more information about MIOSHA, please visit www.michigan.gov/miosha.
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