Fairfax, VA — The National Utility Contractors Association, in partnership with OSHA, is calling on employers involved in trench work to participate in the seventh annual Trench Safety Stand Down.

Set to take place June 20-24, the stand-down is aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of trenching and excavation, as well as promoting the use of protective systems such as sloping, shoring and shielding. OSHA’s standard on trenching and excavation (1926.650, Subpart P) requires protective systems for trenches that are 5 feet or deeper, unless the excavation occurs in stable rock.

OSHA warns that trench collapses are “rarely survivable” because a cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as 3,000 pounds. Citing OSHA data, NUCA says 17 workers died in trench incidents in 2018.

The stand-down, which is part of Trench Safety Month, is geared toward “anyone who wants to prevent trenching and excavation hazards in the workplace.” NUCA encourages various occupations to get involved, including those employed in utility, residential and highway construction, as well as plumbers and safety equipment manufacturers. Free online tools, including checklists, fact sheets and videos, are available on the NUCA website.

“NUCA and the utility construction industry members must seek out every measure possible to reduce risks on our jobsites, which we all know can be a dangerous place to work if someone is unaware of its hazards,” NUCA says. “Time and time again, evidence shows that the key to significantly reducing the risks associated with our industry is employee training and reinforcement through events such as the TSSD Week.”

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