BISMARCK, ND – To combat the dangers workers face in trenching and excavation operations, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and key stakeholders renewed an alliance to train workers on trenching and excavation hazards.

The alliance will focus on educating employees and employers about cave-ins, struck-by heavy equipment, falling loads and vehicular traffic in close proximity to the excavation operations and raise awareness of workers’ rights and employers’ responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The following organizations are joining with OSHA in the alliance:

Workforce Safety and Insurance

Energy Coalition for Contractor Safety

North Dakota Safety Council

North Dakota One Call

Associated Builders and Contractors of North Dakota

Bakken Basin Safety Consortium

Associated General Contractors of North Dakota

The alliance signing took place yesterday at the North Dakota Safety Council campus in Bismarck.

“Trench collapses can be deadly for excavation workers. Employers can prevent collapses by sloping, shoring and shielding trench walls and training workers to recognize hazards and use proactive safety procedures,” said OSHA’s Area Director Scott Overson in Bismarck, North Dakota. “This alliance provides its contractor members with training and access to resources to improve workplace safety in this high-hazard industry.”

An implementation team, which comprises representatives of each organization, will meet to develop a plan of action, determine working procedures and identify the roles and responsibilities of the participants. In addition, they will meet up to twice annually to track and share information on activities and results in achieving the goals of the alliance and promote available training by each organization.

To raise awareness of OSHA safety standards, the agency partnered with the National Utility Contractors Association and participated in Trench Safety Stand-Down Week, June 14-18, 2021, to educate employers and workers. Visit OSHA’s Trenching and Excavation page for information on protecting workers in trenches.

OSHA’s Alliance Program works with groups committed to worker safety and health to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. These groups include unions, consulates, trade or professional organizations, businesses, faith- and community-based organizations, and educational institutions. OSHA and the groups work together to develop compliance assistance tools and resources, share information with workers and employers, and educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities.

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