Utility Contractor

MAR-APR 2018

As the official magazine of NUCA, Utility Contractor presents the latest information affecting every aspect of the utility construction industry, including technological advancements, safety issues, legislative developments and instructional advice.

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By George Kennedy petent persons so that they know the law and what is sup- posed to be done to protect workers from cave ins. Workers must be trained too. Time will tell what happens to the construction company's owner, but in the meantime Joe is dead and the company owner will have to face the family to tell them the tragic news. This is something no one ever wants to do. It could all have been prevented if one of the three S's – sloping, shoring or shielding – were used when Joe was in the trench. Yes, this is a horrible story. But the story is real and ex- plains what happens when a worker is buried in an unpro- tected trench. Even when workers are pulled from the trench collapse alive, they are seriously injured and, in many cases, will die from their injuries. Preventing Trench Fatalities and Injuries Did you know that most trench fatalities occur in excava- tions, including trenchess, that are only 5- to 15-ft deep? They often occur where there is no trained competent person as- signed to oversee the work to keep it safe. OSHA requires employers to train all their workers about trench safety. In addition, employers are required to train and assign a competent person to every job that in- volves workers working in and around trenches and other excavations. OSHA requires every excavation 5 ft or more in depth to be protected by a trench protective system – sloping, shoring or shielding. In some states a protective system is required for excavations deeper than 4 ft. In any event, a trench protec- tive system is required to protect workers. In addition, even when trenches are less than 4- or 5-ft deep a competent per- son must make a judgement call about whether or not it is safe to enter into the trench and then take appropriate action. If in doubt, the competent person should use a trench protec- tive system to ensure workers are not injured or worse, killed in the trench. Trench Safety Stand Down This year NUCA, with the help of OSHA, will hold its third Trench Safety Stand Down from June 18-23. Last year the stand down reached out to more than 10,000 workers and this year we are aiming for as much participation as possible. Let's see if we can double that number this year. All you have to do is take some time during the week to talk to your managers, supervisors, workers and crews about the importance of using trench protective systems and not en- tering into unprotected trenches or excavations even for a minute. The goal is to reach out to as many workers who work in and around trenches and other excavations to provide them with information about current excavation requirements and safety procedures for working in trenches. By reaching as many workers as possible, we can reduce the number of fatali- ties and serious injuries that occur each year in our industry, and make others, such as municipal and industrial workers who are exposed, aware of these serious hazards. Anyone who is interested can join in spreading the word about trench safety. If you would like to participate, visit the NUCA website at www.nuca.com/tssd to find out how to be- come a participating organization and/or download training and other materials you can use for a stand-down. It's free and, most importantly, you could save a person like Joe. Conclusion These types of situations happen more often than you may think. Trenches cave in frequently and workers are killed or se- riously injured. If companies would only take the time to train workers and spend a few dollars, they could all be prevented. George Kennedy is NUCA's vice president of safety. Utility Contractor 35 by a trench protective system – sloping, shoring or shielding.

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