Who: U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Wisconsin Underground Contractors Association Inc.
Wisconsin Safety and Health Consultation Program
What: Safety alliance
To protect workers in the trenching industry, Wisconsin Safety and Health Consultation Program Director Ernie Stracener and Wisconsin Underground Contractors Association Inc. Executive Director Robert J. Bartel signed an alliance with OSHA area directors Chris Zortman in Milwaukee, Ruth Wright in Eau Claire, Robert Bonack in Appleton and Chad Greenwood in Madison.
Background: On April 21, 2023, OSHA’s Wisconsin area offices, signed an alliance with the Wisconsin Underground Contractors Association Inc. and the Wisconsin Safety and Health Consultation Program to promote safety in the trenching and excavation industries.
OSHA Area Directors Chris Zortman in Milwaukee, Chad Greenwood in Madison, Robert Bonack in Appleton and Ruth Wright in Eau Claire signed the agreement along with Safety and Health Consultation Program Director Ernie Stracener and Underground Contractors Association Executive Director Robert J. Bartel in Waukesha.
The alliance will focus on:
Hazards related to trenching, struck-by, underground utilities, confined space entry and roadway work zone safety goals.
Sharing WUCA’s good practices on trenching and excavation safety.
Collaborating on effective training programs, workshops, seminars, and lectures.
Developing and disseminating case studies on trenching incidents as learning tools.
Encouraging worker participation in workplace safety and health increasing hazard awareness training and reporting.
Establishing illness and injury prevention programs.
Participating in the National Utility Contractors Association Trench Safety Month, each June.
During the two-year alliance, members will also share information on OSHA campaigns to encourage workplace safety facilitating an understanding of workers’ rights and employees’ responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The alliance will also encourage stakeholders to build relationships with OSHA’s regional and area offices to address health and safety issues.
The OSHA Alliance Program enables organizations to enter voluntarily into a cooperative relationship to raise awareness of OSHA’s initiatives, outreach, communications, training and education.
Quote: “In 2022, 37 workers loss their life in trenching and excavation work and the industry remains among the most dangerous industries in the nation. This alliance will promote the development of comprehensive safety and health programs for members of the Wisconsin Underground Contractors Association and increase access to training resources,” explained OSHA Area Director Chris Zortman in Milwaukee. “Alliance agreements provide a collaborative framework for using industry and professional resources to ensure workplaces are safe for everyone involved.”
OSHA’s trenching and excavation webpage provides additional information on trenching hazards and solutions. including a safety video.
Learn more about OSHA.