The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated the National Emphasis Program (NEP) on preventing trenching and excavation collapses in response to a recent spike in trenching fatalities. OSHA’s NEP will increase education efforts wile 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 October 1st, 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.
OSHA has developed a series of compliance assistance resources to help keep workers safe from trenching and excavation hazards. The trenching and excavation webpage provides information on trenching hazards and solutions.