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Trench-Related Fatalities Prompt Enhanced Enforcement

Tragically, in the first six months of 2022, twenty-two trench-related fatalities occurred, surpassing the 15 fatalities in all of 2021. These workers fell victim to the deadly hazards present in trenching and excavation work. Prompting the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to launch enhanced enforcement initiatives to protect workers from known industry hazards.

With the hope of saving lives, OSHA enforcement staff is considering every available tool at the agency’s disposal in order to stress the dangers of disregarding federal workplace safety requirements for trenching and excavation work. This will include placing additional emphasis on penalties for trenching and excavation-related incidents. In a worst-case scenario, this may include federal or state prosecution. Therefore holding employers and others accountable when their actions or inactions kill workers or put their lives at risk.

Because of the continuing incidence of trench collapses and loss of life, the agency has determined that these worksites continue to warrant an increased enforcement presence. Employees exposed to potential cave-ins must be protected before the excavation face is in imminent danger of collapse. Furthermore, OSHA believes that there is a potential for collapse in virtually all excavations. OSHA compliance officers will perform more than 1,000 trench inspections nationwide where they may stop by, and inspect, any excavation site during their daily duties.

OSHA Training and Compliance Saves Lives

Trenching and excavation work exposes workers to extremely dangerous hazards. OSHA believes that the rate of deaths and serious injuries resulting from trenching and excavation incidents (mostly collapses) can be significantly reduced if OSHA concentrates resources to effectively engage in trenching and excavation operations through both enforcement and compliance assistance activities.

“Every one of these tragedies could have been prevented had employers complied with OSHA standards,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Health and Safety Doug Parker. “There simply is no excuse for ignoring safety requirements to prevent trench collapses and cave-ins, and leaving families, friends, and co-workers to grieve when the solutions are so well-understood.”

“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is calling on all employers engaged in trenching and excavation activities to act immediately to ensure that required protections are fully in place every single time their employees step down into or work near a trench,” Parker added. “In a matter of seconds, workers can be crushed and buried under thousands of pounds of soil and rocks in an unsafe trench. The alarming increase in the number of workers needlessly dying and suffering serious injuries in trenching incidents must be stopped.”

Trench Shields Unused in Fatal Accident

A recent incident in Texas highlights the dangers of trenching and the importance of following safety standards. On June 28, 2022, two workers suffered fatal injuries when the unprotected trench more than 20 feet deep collapsed upon them as they worked. Trench shields, which could have saved their lives, sat unused beside the excavation.

Trenching and excavation operations require protective systems and inspections before workers can enter. Workers are exposed to serious hazards when trench protection systems are not installed. Furthermore, failing to properly inspect the trench, puts everyone at high risk for injury. These hazards include the risk of being buried under thousands of pounds of soil. Following safety requirements helps protect workers from tragic injuries and possibly death.

Excavation and Trenching Safety Training Includes:

  • Overview of OSHA Standard on Trenching and Excavation
  • Hazards of trenching and excavation
  • Competent Person Roles and Duties
  • Safety Precautions
  • Access & Egress
  • Excavated Materials (Spoil)
  • Confined Spaces
  • Mobile Equipment
  • Surface Crossing

Vital trenching standards require protective systems on all trenches 5 feet deep. In addition, soil and other materials must be kept at least 2 feet from the edge of a trench. Furthermore, trenches must be inspected by a knowledgeable person. Equally important, they must be free of standing water and atmospheric hazards. As well as have a safe means of entering and exiting prior to allowing a worker to enter. Without proper training keeping workers safe is impossible but carefully following OSHA regulations gives everyone the best chance at a safe work environment.

“OSHA stands ready to assist any employer who needs help to comply with our trenching and excavation requirements,” Parker added. “We will conduct outreach programs, including safety summits, in all of our 10 regions to help ensure any employer who wants assistance gets it. The stakes are too important.”

Excavation & Trenching Safety Training Streaming Subscription – Spanish

All excavations are hazardous because they are inherently unstable. Workers can be seriously injured or killed if the sides of a trench collapse. Unsafe trenches are the major factor in many trenching hazards. Trenches don’t have to be deep for accidents to occur. Digging can be a major cause of concern unless you know proper trenching safety techniques and the OSHA trenching safety rules. This training program was developed to give your workers a solid understanding of the hazards of trenching, excavation and trenching projects, their roles in worksite safety efforts, and methods for protecting themselves and their coworkers.

Excavation and Trenching Safety Training Class Topic Overview:

  • Overview of OSHA Standard on Trenching and Excavation
  • Hazards of trenching and excavation
  • Competent Person Roles and Duties
  • Safety Precautions
  • Access & Egress
  • Excavated Materials (Spoil)
  • Confined Spaces
  • Mobile Equipment
  • Surface Crossing

Our easy-to-use video kit provides all the necessary materials for running a successful training, including:

  • 15-minute Excavation and Trenching Safety Video written by industry professionals
  • Excavation and Trenching Safety PowerPoint Presentation for classroom use
  • OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926 compliant content
  • Printable documents, including:
    • Training outline
    • Compliance Manual
    • Completion Certificate & Wallet Cards / ID card
    • Attendance Log / Sign-In Form
    • Employee Quiz and Answer Key
    • Excavation and trenching supplement printout

Course Outcomes

After completing this training, your employees will be certified in understanding concepts covered in OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926. They should exhibit understanding of the importance of an excavation and trenching safety, hazards, and best practices.

Who should take this course?

Any worker who works on or around trenching and excavation projects, as well as members of worksite management and safety planning. This training is also suitable for use as a refresher course or to train the trainer.

Excavation & Trenching Safety Training Streaming Subscription – English

All excavations are hazardous because they are inherently unstable. Workers can be seriously injured or killed if the sides of a trench collapse. Unsafe trenches are the major factor in many trenching hazards. Trenches don’t have to be deep for accidents to occur. Digging can be a major cause of concern unless you know proper trenching safety techniques and the OSHA trenching safety rules. This training program was developed to give your workers a solid understanding of the hazards of trenching, excavation and trenching projects, their roles in worksite safety efforts, and methods for protecting themselves and their coworkers.

Excavation and Trenching Safety Training Class Topic Overview:

  • Overview of OSHA Standard on Trenching and Excavation
  • Hazards of trenching and excavation
  • Competent Person Roles and Duties
  • Safety Precautions
  • Access & Egress
  • Excavated Materials (Spoil)
  • Confined Spaces
  • Mobile Equipment
  • Surface Crossing

Our easy-to-use video kit provides all the necessary materials for running a successful training, including:

  • 15-minute Excavation and Trenching Safety Video written by industry professionals
  • Excavation and Trenching Safety PowerPoint Presentation for classroom use
  • OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926 compliant content
  • Printable documents, including:
    • Training outline
    • Compliance Manual
    • Completion Certificate & Wallet Cards / ID card
    • Attendance Log / Sign-In Form
    • Employee Quiz and Answer Key
    • Excavation and trenching supplement printout

Course Outcomes

After completing this training, your employees will be certified in understanding concepts covered in OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926. They should exhibit understanding of the importance of an excavation and trenching safety, hazards, and best practices.

Who should take this course?

Any worker who works on or around trenching and excavation projects, as well as members of worksite management and safety planning. This training is also suitable for use as a refresher course or to train the trainer.

Excavation & Trenching Training Booklets (pkg of 10)

An excavation is any man-made cut, cavity or depression in the earth’s surface, formed by earth removal. This includes a trench, which is a narrow type of excavation made below the ground that is deeper than it is wide. Trenches can be up to 15 feet wide. Trenches and excavations are common at many construction sites and are considered one of the most dangerous construction operations. It is estimated that 100 plus deaths per year occur due to cave-ins and other excavation hazards. OSHA requires that workers in trenches and excavation areas be protected. Most fatalities and injuries could be avoided with proper knowledge, utilization of OSHA safety standards and an effective health and safety program.

This 16-page booklet is an excellent resource to complement our training course, and addresses the following areas:

  • Contents of the OSHA standard
  • Types & characteristics of forklifts
  • Pre-operational inspections of forklifts
  • Basic driving, stability and load handling
  • Fuels & batteries
  • Attachments

Additional Information Weight 0.6 lbs Dimensions 8.5 x 5.5. x 0.5 in Language English, Spanish

Excavation & Trenching Safety Training Course Video Kit

All excavations are hazardous because they are inherently unstable. Workers can be seriously injured or killed if the sides of a trench collapse. Unsafe trenches are the major factor in many trenching hazards. Trenches don’t have to be deep for accidents to occur. Digging can be a major cause of concern unless you know proper trenching safety techniques and the OSHA trenching safety rules. This training program was developed to give your workers a solid understanding of the hazards of trenching, excavation and trenching projects, their roles in worksite safety efforts, and methods for protecting themselves and their coworkers.

Excavation and Trenching Safety Training Class Topic Overview:

  • Overview of OSHA Standard on Trenching and Excavation
  • Hazards of trenching and excavation
  • Competent Person Roles and Duties
  • Safety Precautions
  • Access & Egress
  • Excavated Materials (Spoil)
  • Confined Spaces
  • Mobile Equipment
  • Surface Crossing

Our easy-to-use video kit provides all the necessary materials for running a successful training, including:

  • 15-minute Excavation and Trenching Safety Video written by industry professionals
  • Excavation and Trenching Safety PowerPoint Presentation for classroom use
  • OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926 compliant content
  • Printable documents, including:
    • Training outline
    • Compliance Manual
    • Completion Certificate & Wallet Cards / ID card
    • Attendance Log / Sign-in Form
    • Employee Quiz and Answer Key
    • Excavation and trenching supplement printout

Course Outcomes After completing this training, your employees will be certified in understanding concepts covered in OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926. They should exhibit an understanding of the importance of excavation and trenching safety, hazards, and best practices.

Who should take this course?

Any worker who works on or around trenching and excavation projects, as well as members of worksite management and safety planning. This training is also suitable for use as a refresher course or to train the trainer. The following are previews of the

Excavation & Trenching Safety Training videos:

Excavation & Trenching Safety Training Video Kit

All excavations are hazardous because they are inherently unstable. Workers can be seriously injured or killed if the sides of a trench collapse. Unsafe trenches are the major factor in many trenching hazards. Trenches don’t have to be deep for accidents to occur. Digging can be a major cause of concern unless you know proper trenching safety techniques and the OSHA trenching safety rules. This training program was developed to give your workers a solid understanding of the hazards of trenching, excavation and trenching projects, their roles in worksite safety efforts, and methods for protecting themselves and their coworkers. Excavation and Trenching Safety Training Class Topic Overview:

  • Overview of OSHA Standard on Trenching and Excavation
  • Hazards of trenching and excavation
  • Competent Person Roles and Duties
  • Safety Precautions
  • Access & Egress
  • Excavated Materials (Spoil)
  • Confined Spaces
  • Mobile Equipment
  • Surface Crossing

Our easy-to-use video kit provides all the necessary materials for running a successful training, including:

  • 15-minute Excavation and Trenching Safety Video written by industry professionals
  • Excavation and Trenching Safety PowerPoint Presentation for classroom use
  • OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926 compliant content
  • Printable documents, including:
    • Training outline
    • Compliance Manual
    • Completion Certificate & Wallet Cards / ID card
    • Attendance Log / Sign-In Form
    • Employee Quiz and Answer Key
    • Excavation and trenching supplement printout

Course Outcomes After completing this training, your employees will be certified in understanding concepts covered in OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926. They should exhibit understanding of the importance of an excavation and trenching safety, hazards, and best practices. Who should take this course? Any worker who works on or around trenching and excavation projects, as well as members of worksite management and safety planning. This training is also suitable for use as a refresher course or to train the trainer.

Excavation and Trenching Safety Poster

Excavation and trenching come with many potential hazards and risks. Give those operating excavation and trenching equipment an overview of safety tips and guidelines to keep in mind.

“Excavation and trenching can be dangerous.” 

This full color, laminated, safety poster is 18’ x 24’ with English or Spanish options available.

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Safeguarding Compliance: The Importance of Keeping Labor Law Posters Up-to-Date 

In the fast-paced world of business, compliance with labor laws is not just an ethical responsibility; it’s a legal necessity. One often-overlooked aspect of this compliance is the role of labor law posters. These seemingly simple displays serve as crucial tools for businesses to inform employees about their rights and ensure adherence to labor regulations. In this comprehensive exploration, we’ll delve into the significance of labor law posters and why keeping them up-to-date is paramount for businesses. 

The Basics: Labor Law Posters 

Labor law posters are not mere office decorations; they are a legal mandate. These posters consolidate essential information about federal, state and local labor laws, presenting it in a clear and accessible manner for employees. For instance, they may cover minimum wage requirements, workplace safety guidelines and anti-discrimination laws, offering a comprehensive guide for both employers and employees. 

Key Elements Covered by Labor Law Posters 

Minimum Wage Requirements 

  • State-specific minimum wage rates 
  • Any recent changes or upcoming adjustments 
  • Information on tipped employees and applicable wage rates 

Workplace Safety Guidelines 

  • Emergency contact information and procedures 
  • Safety protocols for specific job roles or hazardous conditions 
  • OSHA regulations pertinent to the industry 

Anti-Discrimination Laws 

  • Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policies 
  • Guidelines against workplace discrimination based on gender, race or disability 
  • Contact information for relevant agencies to report discrimination 

Customization Based on Locale is Critical 

  • Different states have unique labor laws, and posters must reflect these distinctions. 
  • Tailoring posters to the specific industry helps employees understand regulations relevant to their work. 
  • Regular updates ensure that any changes in laws are accurately communicated to employees. 
     

Why Up-to-Date Posters Matter 

Labor laws are dynamic and subject to change. Businesses must adapt swiftly to remain compliant. Outdated posters not only pose legal risks but also compromise employee awareness and protection. Changes in minimum wage, safety protocols or other regulations may occur, and businesses need to reflect these adjustments promptly. 

Consider a scenario where there’s an update to a workplace safety regulation. Without a timely update to the corresponding labor law poster, employees might remain unaware of critical safety procedures, exposing both the workforce and the business to unnecessary risks. This underlines the urgency of ensuring that posters are consistently up-to-date. 

Expanding on the consequences of non-compliance, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) plays a pivotal role in enforcing workplace safety standards. OSHA mandates that certain businesses display specific posters to inform employees of their rights and ensure a safe working environment. Failure to comply with OSHA requirements can result in significant penalties, including fines that could potentially cripple a business financially. 

In the Trenches: Understanding the True Cost of Non-Compliance 

There are many reasons not to let non-compliance happen, particularly when it comes to labor law posters. Penalties for not displaying the required workplace posters can include hefty fines, which often vary based on the size of a business and whether the violation is a repeated offense. 

Broader Implications of Non-Compliance 

Beyond financial penalties, the repercussions of non-compliance extend to the very fabric of a business. An unsafe or non-compliant workplace can also lead to: 

Employee Dissatisfaction 

  • Employees may feel unprotected or undervalued when workplace regulations are not prioritized. 
  • Dissatisfaction can result in decreased morale and productivity. 

High Turnover Rates 

  • Non-compliance contributes to an unfavorable work environment, prompting valuable employees to seek alternative employment. 
  • High turnover rates disrupt business continuity and strain resources. 

Negative Public Image 

  • The public perceives businesses as stewards of ethical practices. 
  • A negative image due to non-compliance can impact customer trust and loyalty. 

 
By emphasizing these broader implications, businesses gain a more comprehensive understanding of the holistic importance of labor law poster compliance. It transcends avoiding fines – it’s about fostering a workplace culture that prioritizes employee well-being and contributes to long-term organizational success. 

NSC: Your Convenient Compliance Partner 

National Safety Compliance recognizes the challenges businesses face in staying abreast of labor law poster compliance. With a pre-order option for 2024 posters and a convenient yearly subscription, NSC simplifies the often cumbersome task of poster management. An NSC subscription not only guarantees up-to-date posters but also provides an added layer of security through poster “insurance.” 

In the event of any mandatory labor law changes, NSC takes a proactive approach, promptly shipping a new, updated poster for free. This not only saves businesses the effort of monitoring legislative changes but also ensures that compliance is maintained without any additional financial burden. 

With the pre-order option for 2024 posters, businesses can plan ahead and seamlessly integrate compliance efforts into their operational strategies. This forward-thinking approach aligns with OSHA’s emphasis on preventive measures, reinforcing NSC’s commitment to helping businesses avoid penalties and legal issues. 

Don’t just meet the minimum requirements; exceed them with NSC’s commitment to accuracy, convenience and proactive support. 

Choose NSC for your labor law poster needs. 

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Renewed Focus on Enforcement

In recent years, the Department of Labor, DOL for short, has renewed its commitment to enforce labor laws, promoting the safety and health of American workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA for short, was created in 1970 to ensure safe and healthy conditions for all workers. It is OSHA’s responsibility to set and enforce safety standards that employers must comply with in order to provide employees with the safest workplace possible. Just last month, OSHA issued two memorandums indicating that they are stepping up their focus on the enforcement of labor laws. In Fact, both memorandums were issued by OSHA’s Directorate for Enforcement Programs. 

According to the DOL, OSHA “has issued new enforcement guidance to make its penalties more effective in stopping employers from repeatedly exposing workers to life-threatening hazards or failing to comply with certain workplace safety and health requirements.”

The first memorandum, Application of Instance-by-Instance Penalty Adjustment, gives OSHA Regional Administrators and Area Office Directors the authority to cite certain types of violations as “instance-by-instance citations.” This includes cases where the agency identifies “high-gravity” serious violations of OSHA standards specific to certain conditions. Specifically when the language of the rule supports a citation for each instance of non-compliance. The purpose of this change is to encourage OSHA personnel to apply the full authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Act where increased citations will in fact discourage non-compliance. 

Conditions Where Instance-by-Instance Citations May Apply:

The second memorandum, Exercising Discretion When Not to Group Violations, states that it is “intended to reiterate existing policy that allows Regional Administrators and Area Directors discretion to not group violations in appropriate cases to achieve a deterrent effect.” Instead they should cite them separately, with the goal of effectively encouraging employers to comply with the the OSH Act.

This updated guidance covers enforcement activity in general industry, agriculture, maritime and construction industries, and becomes effective 60 days from Jan. 26, 2023. Since the current policy has been in place for more than 30 years and applies only to egregious willful citations, these aggressive changes make it clear that OSHA is focused on deterring employers from ignoring their responsibilities to keep workers safe.

Doug Parker, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health explained the changes this way, “Smart, impactful enforcement means using all the tools available to us when an employer ‘doesn’t get it’ and will respond to only additional deterrence in the form of increased citations and penalties. This is intended to be a targeted strategy for those employers who repeatedly choose to put profits before their employees’ safety, health and wellbeing. Employers who callously view injured or sickened workers simply as a cost of doing business will face more serious consequences.”

OSHA has delivered remarkable progress in improving the safety of America’s work force. Workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities have fallen dramatically over the years. OSHA has tackled fatal safety hazards and health risks by establishing common sense standards and enforcing the law against those who put workers at risk. OSHA standards and enforcement actions have saved thousands of lives and prevented countless injuries and illnesses. Looking to the future, OSHA is renewing its commitment to protecting workers by promoting best practices that can save lives.

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Confined Spaces Pose Safety Risks for Workers

confined spaces

Fatal injuries in confined spaces average 92 fatalities per year, according to the US Department of Labor. That’s almost two per week. Many workplaces contain spaces that are considered confined. The configuration of these places hinders the activities of employees who must enter, work in, and exit them. A confined space has limited or restricted means for entry or exit.

Confined spaces include, but are not limited to underground vaults, tanks, storage bins, manholes, pits, silos, process vessels, and pipelines. Workers in many industries are required to access them in order to obtain equipment, make repairs, and perform routine maintenance.

The most common risks of working in confined spaces include:

  • Limited entrances or exits
  • Poor air quality
  • Inadequate oxygen
  • Exposure to gases and dangerous toxins (which are more likely to build up to dangerous levels in confined spaces)
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Structural dangers
  • Risk of fires or explosions
  • Electrical hazards
  • Drowning risk in trenches, pipelines, or water tanks

Construction workers often perform tasks in confined spaces. However, the risk is not limited to construction workers. Agricultural workers, electricians, and maintenance workers are also at high risk of being injured in confined spaces. Spaces such as pits, manholes, and crawl spaces are not designed for continuous occupancy. It can be very tricky to exit these. An emergency makes escaping even more difficult. Confined spaces can present life-threatening hazards. Hazards such as toxic substances, electrocutions, explosions, and asphyxiation. Exposure to these hazards can largely be prevented if addressed prior to entering the space to perform work.

By definition, a confined space is not designed for continuous employee occupancy. According to OSHA, it is the employer’s responsibility to evaluate the workplace to determine if any spaces are confined spaces. Indeed, worker training is essential to the recognition of what constitutes a confined space and the hazards that may be encountered in them. For instance, if it is a confined space, the next step is to determine if it is a permit-required confined space.

Permit-Required Confined Space Characteristics:

  • Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
  • Contains a material that has the potential to engulf an entrant
  • Has walls that converge inward
  • Has floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area
  • Could trap or asphyxiate an entrant
  • Contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress

In general, the Permit-Required Confined Spaces Standard requires the employer, to evaluate the workplace to determine if any spaces are permit-required confined spaces. If workers are authorized to enter permit spaces, a comprehensive permit spaces program must regulate employee entry into permit spaces. OSHA provides detailed specifications of the elements of an acceptable permit spaces program.

Further, permit spaces must be identified by signs. Entry must be strictly controlled and limited to authorized persons. An important element of the requirements is that entry be regulated by a written entry permit system. In addition, proper atmospheric evaluation and testing of the space before and during any entry by workers. Further, an entry must be monitored by an attendant outside the space. Additionally, a rescue plan is required in the event of an emergency. In order for a rescue to be successful, the confined space safety plan must be quickly accessible to all employees.

Worker training is vital to keeping workers safe. In fact, OSHA outlines training requirements and specific duties for authorized entrants, attendants, and supervisors. According to OSH Online, Eighty-five percent of fatalities in confined spaces were among people who hadn’t been trained. Therefore, it is clear, proper training can save lives. In the same way, the reality is with proper training and equipment, the loss of workers in confined spaces can be prevented.

Our Confined Space Entry Training Course topics include:

  • Contents of OSHA Standard 1926 Subpart AA
  • Confined space definition
  • Hazards of confined spaces
  • Confined space entry procedures
  • Training for entrants, attendants, and supervisors
  • Acute or chronic effects of working in confined spaces
  • Permit-required confined spaces
  • Emergency rescue from confined spaces
  • Personal Protective Equipment in Confined Spaces

This training is appropriate for any workers who will work in or around confined entry spaces. As a result of completing this training, workers will be certified in the OSHA Standard 1926 Subpart AA and should be able to use sound judgment and work within confined spaces safely. Thus, this training is also suitable for supervisors, and managers. Similarly, it is effective to train the trainer or as a refresher course for seasoned employees.