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Alarming rise in trench-related fatalities spurs US Department of Labor to announce enhanced nationwide enforcement, additional oversight

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a Press Release on enhanced enforcement initiatives it is launching in response to an alarming rise in trench-related fatalities.  In 2022’s first six months, 22 workers have fallen victim to the deadly hazards present in trenching and excavation work – surpassing 15 in all of 2021.  

In keeping with its National Emphasis Program for excavations, OSHA compliance officers will perform more than 1,000 trench inspections nationwide where they may stop by, and inspect, any excavation site during their daily duties.  To stress the dangers of disregarding federal workplace safety requirements for trenching and excavation work, OSHA enforcement staff will consider every available tool at the agency’s disposal. These actions will place additional emphasis on how agency officials evaluate penalties for trenching and excavation related incidents, including criminal referrals for federal or state prosecution to hold employers and others accountable when their actions or inactions kill workers or put their lives at risk.

For more information on OSHA’s enhances enforcement initiative related to trenching and excavation, please refer to the Press Release.  OSHA’s trenching and excavation webpage provides additional information on trenching hazards and solutions, including an alert, poster, compliance directive, quick card, and safety video.  

A part of Nevada’s Division of Industrial Relations, SCATS provides free, confidential consultation and safety services to assist Nevada businesses in maintaining compliance with OSHA standards. Helping employers keep their employees safe through on-site consultation services, SCATS partners with businesses to recognize and control potential safety and health hazards, improve their safety and health programs, and assist in training employees. SCATS also offers Workplace Safety and Health Training classes in Northern and Southern Nevada. Bilingual services are also available. Request a consultation today.

Nevada SCATS is offering an Excavation Regulatory Review class on August 5th which will be available online. You can register for the class here.