The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) recently joined with employers and workers for Trench Safety Stand Down Week.
Excavation and trenching are among the most hazardous jobs in the construction industry. MIOSHA is encouraging employers to talk directly with their workers about hazard recognition and how to implement appropriate safety measures.
The greatest risks associated with these activities are cave-ins, falling loads, standing water, and insufficient atmospheric oxygen.
Nonetheless, this work can be performed safely by observing the three principal ways to protect workers:
- Sloping or benching trench walls
- Shoring trench walls with supports
- Shielding trench walls with trench boxes
Each is addressed in MIOSHA's Excavation, Trenching, and Shoring Construction Safety and Health Standard.
Trench Safety Stand Down Week is conducted annually with encouragement from the National Utility Contractors Association. It is supported by both MIOSHA and federal OSHA. MIOSHA has adopted the national emphasis program on excavation and trenching to help prevent future incidents.