Trench Safety Stand Down WeekJune 17, 2019
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 23 workers were killed in trench accidents in 2016. When a trench collapses, workers can become trapped, even if the trench is not particularly large or deep. In fact, one cubic yard of soil can weigh up to 3,000 pounds, which can make it impossible for trapped workers to escape. Fortunately, many of these accidents are preventable if workers and employers make safety a priority. Hosted by the National Utility Contractors Association, the annual Trench Safety Stand Down week is June 17 to 21, and will help raise awareness of trench-related hazards, encourage the use of trench protective systems, and offer steps workers can take to avoid dangerous accidents.
The Trench Safety Stand Down gives employers the opportunity to discuss a range of safety issues with workers. Companies can encourage workers to take a break from their job to participate in a toolbox talk, or other safety activities that focus on the unique hazards related to trenches and excavations. The main goal of the Safety Stand Down is to provide employees with the latest information about current excavation requirements and the recommended safety procedures for working in trenches. The more workers that participate in the program, the more likely they can avoid being seriously injured in trench-related accidents.
Examples of Trench-Related Hazards
One of the most common causes of worker fatalities is cave-ins. Workers can become trapped under dirt, soil, and other material, making it very difficult to be rescued in time. Trench collapses are responsible for dozens of fatalities and hundreds of injuries every year. Other hazards include falls, falling loads, hazardous atmospheres, and accidents involving equipment. The following safety tips can help avoid serious accidents and prevent injuries and fatalities:
- Never enter an unprotected trench
- Surcharge loads should be kept at least two feet from the edge of the trench
- Test for any toxic gases, hazardous fumes, and low oxygen
- Trenches should be inspected before each shift and after a rainstorm
- Trenches that are more than five feet deep should have protective systems installed, unless the excavation is made of stable rock
- A protective system that is designed by a professional engineer should be installed in trenches that are more than 20 feet deep
- Excavated materials should be placed a minimum of two feet from the edge of the trench
- Workers should have a safe exit within 25 feet of their location in the trench
- The trench must be inspected daily by a qualified individual
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Injured Trench Workers
If you or someone you know was injured while working in a trench, it is in your best interest to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident and determine the next best steps. Our dedicated and skilled legal team will secure the maximum financial benefits you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. Located in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.