WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration today signed an agreement with an alliance of trade organizations, labor unions and industry stakeholders to better protect people who do trenching and excavation work.
The two-year agreement between OSHA and the Partners for Safe Trenching and Excavation Operations Alliance will unite the North American Excavation Shoring Association, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, the National Utility Contractors Association, the Associated General Contractors, the Common Ground Alliance, the International Union of Operating Engineers and the Laborers’ International Union of North America to address some of the construction industry’s most hazardous work.
“Sadly in 2022, we saw a dramatic and disturbing increase in the number of workers who died in trench collapses,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “We know that awareness and vigilance saves lives. Joining with the Partners for Safe Trenching and Excavation Operations Alliance is an important collaboration to help ensure that industry employers are taking the precautions required to keep every worker who enters or works near a trench safe.”
The alliance will help small- and medium-sized employers protect workers from hazards related to trenching, excavation and shoring. The initiative will also focus on the four leading construction industry hazards, namely falls, caught-in or caught-between, struck-by objects and electrocution. In addition, alliance participants will share information on how to improve controls and equipment to reduce worker exposures to hazardous levels of noise and silica.
OSHA will partner with the alliance and its members to develop guidance in multiple languages and deploy resources, such as safety articles and alerts, worksite tours, educational sessions and focused discussions on common hazards in trenching and excavation work and agency priorities and initiatives. Alliance partners will also create and offer podcasts and webinars focused on best practices in trenching and excavation. In addition, the alliance will encourage industry stakeholders to incorporate equity and worker voice into its outreach and activities to help connect as many workers as possible with important worker safety and health information.
Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with organizations such as trade and professional associations, labor unions, educational institutions, community and faith-based groups, and government agencies to share information about OSHA’s initiatives and compliance assistance resources with workers and employers, and educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities.
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