OSHA issued a press release  announcing that it has updated the National Emphasis Program (NEP) on preventing trenching and excavation collapses in response to a recent spike in trenching fatalities.  The NEP will increase education and enforcement efforts.  The program began on October 1, 2018 with a three-month period of education and prevention outreach.  During this period, OSHA will continue to respond to complaints, referrals, hospitalizations, and fatalities.  OSHA-approved State Plans are expected to have enforcement procedures that are at least as effective as those in this NEP.

OSHA has a number of compliance assistance materials to help, including:

  • Audio public service announcements recorded by U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta in English and Spanish that highlight effective ways to stay safe when working around trenches and excavations.
  • A 45-second video, “5 Things You Should Know to Stay Safe,” which also 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 Englishand Spanish.
  • An updated trenching and excavation webpage provides additional information on trenching hazards and solutions.