Construction work is dangerous-and work involving trenching and excavating activities tends to be one of the most hazardous in the industry.
Yet, we see trenching and excavating work going on all around us.
Excavations are needed for the installation and repair of utility lines, replacement of water and sewer lines, swimming pool construction, even grave digging.
Excavation projects vary considerably, each with its own set of unique problems.
In 1971, OSHA issued its first standard related to excavations and trenching. Since that time, OSHA has changed the standard in a effort to reduce injuries and fatalities.
Despite these efforts, accidents related to excavations and trenching activities continue to occur at a high rate: over one hundred deaths and many more times that amount in disabling accidents occur every year. You don’t have to lose your life to lose your livelihood.
Accidents of this kind are most prevalent in small to medium size businesses and municipal and county governments.
These high death and accident rates prompted OSHA to sponsor a National Emphasis Program (NEP) to address the hazards.