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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released three new guidance products to educate workers about the hazards they may face in trenching operations on residential job sites.
Being caught in a trench or excavation cave-in is one of the leading causes of fatal injuries in the construction industry. Since 2003 more than 200 workers have died in trench cave-ins, and hundreds more have been seriously injured.
Some of the most common hazards that result in worker injuries during trenching and excavation work:
- Cave-ins of the soil on a side wall of an excavation occur quickly — in one to three seconds — and there is generally no time for a worker to respond and escape safely.
- The atmosphere in excavations can turn deadly when oxygen is displaced by other hazardous gasses.
- Materials falling into excavations can strike workers and cause serious injuries.
- Water can accumulate in excavations, weakening walls and leading to cave-ins.
- Damaged underground utilities can expose workers to hazardous or explosive air, electrocution or drowning.
Available on OSHA’s publications page, the new information products include:
- A “Trenching and Excavation” fact sheet — an overview of the hazards that can occur while performing trenching operations and the safety measures required to protect workers.
- The “Working Safely in Trenches” QuickCard — an easy-to-use guide to trenching hazards and safety measures, with graphics.
- A “Do Not Enter an Unprotected Trench!” poster — a resource for construction workplaces informing workers what steps must be taken to ensure trench safety.
For more information on trenching and excavation safety, check out the popular "NAHB-OSHA Trenching and Excavation Safety Handbook, which can be purchased at www.builderbooks.com.
For an NAHB Safety Card on trenching, click here.
For more information, email Marcus Odorizzi at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8590.
The video provides an overview of the key safety issues that residential builders and workers need to focus on to reduce accidents and injuries.
Based on the NAHB-OSHA Jobsite Safety Handbook, this DVD is intended to be used as part of an essential residential construction safety-training program and includes two 20-minute videos on one DVD.
To view or purchase this DVD online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.
The “NAHB-OSHA Trenching and Excavation Safety Handbook,” available through NAHB BuilderBooks, explains in how to comply with OSHA excavation standards on residential job sites.
The handbook provides guidelines for conducting safe trenching and excavation operations and identifies safe work practices that can prevent serious accidents and injuries.
To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.