OSHA has developed a series of compliance assistance resources to help keep workers safe from trenching and excavation hazards.

The agency’s goal is to increase awareness of trenching hazards in construction, educate job creators and workers on safe cave-in prevention solutions, and decrease the number of trench collapses.

These resources, which further the goals of the U.S. Department of Labor’s recently announced Office of Compliance Initiatives, encourage and facilitate compliance evaluations, according to OSHA.

Trench-related injuries are preventable when workers are properly trained, and the required protections are in place.

OSHA is working with industry stakeholders and providing new compliance assistance resources, which include the following:

  • Public service announcements in English and Spanish highlight effective ways to stay safe when working around trenches and excavations.
  • A 45-second video, “5 Things You Should Know to Stay Safe,” highlights well-known and proven safety measures that can eliminate hazards and prevent worker injuries.
  • An updated trenching operations QuickCard provides information on protecting workers around trenches, including daily inspections, and trench wall safety.
  • OSHA’s revised “Protect Workers in Trenches” poster provides a quick reminder of the three ways to prevent dangerous trench collapses: SLOPE or bench trench walls, SHORE trench walls with supports, or SHIELD trench walls with trench boxes. The poster is available in English and Spanish.
  • An updated trenching and excavation webpage provides additional information on trenching hazards and solutions.

National Emphasis Program Updated

OSHA announced Oct. 2 it is updating its National Emphasis Program on preventing trenching and excavation collapses in response to a recent spike in trenching fatalities.

OSHA’s NEP will increase education and enforcement efforts while its inspectors will record trenching and excavation inspections in a national reporting system, and each area OSHA office will develop outreach programs.

The emphasis program began Oct. 1 with a three-month period of education and prevention outreach. During this period, OSHA will continue to respond to complaints, referrals, hospitalizations, and fatalities.

Enforcement activities will begin after the outreach period and remain in effect until canceled. OSHA-approved State Plans are expected to have enforcement procedures that are at least as effective as those in this instruction.


Register today for CBIA's OSHA 10-Hour for General Industry Outreach, Oct. 16–17, at the CBIA Conference Center in Hartford.