5 Ways to Make Trenches Safer

From June 20-24, construction companies in Hawaii participated in the sixth annual Trench Safety Stand Down Week (TSSD), a nationwide program to curb the number of fatalities and serious injuries in trenches and excavation sites. The local program was led by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Utility Contractors Association of Hawaii. More than 21,000 people participated on 2,100 jobsites, six years after TSSD first was introduced.

As of June 21 this year, a total of 13 people died in trench collapses in the United States, according to OSHA. In Hawaii, Trevor Alvarado, 23, died in the hospital on Jan. 29 after becoming trapped in a sewer project trench on Sand Island. It was the first trench-related death in Hawaii in a decade.

Trench Safety Tips

  • Provide safe entries and exits 
  • Ensure trenches have cave-in protection 
  • Keep materials away from the edges of the trench
  • Look for standing water or other hazards 
  • Never enter a trench unless it’s been inspected 

To report dangerous open trench or excavation sites, call the HIOSH Safety Complaint Line at 808-586-9092. Or email  [email protected].

For safety tips visit:

osha.gov/trenching-excavation and nuca.com/tssd

SOURCE: Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Utility Contractors Association of Hawaii

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