OSHA Updates NEP on Trenching and Excavation Safety

OSHA’S NEP will increase education and enforcement, and each area OSHA office will work on outreach programs.

After a recent spike in trenching fatalities, OSHA has updated the National Emphasis Program (NEP) on trenching and excavation collapse prevention.

OSHA’S NEP will increase education and enforcement, and each area OSHA office will work on outreach programs. OSHA inspectors will use a national reporting system to record inspections related to trenching and excavation.

The NEP started Oct. 1, 2018, and includes a three-month period of education and outreach for trenching and excavation collapse prevention, during which OSHA will continue to respond to complaints, referrals, hospitalizations, and fatalities. After this three-month outreach period, enforcement activities will begin and continue until canceled. OSHA-approved State Plans are expected to have enforcement procedures that are at least as effective as OSHA’s.

"Removing workers from and helping workers identify trenching hazards is critical," said Loren Sweatt, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. "OSHA will concentrate the full force of enforcement and compliance assistance resources to help ensure that employers are addressing these serious hazards."

OSHA has recently developed new compliance assistance resources to help keep workers safety from trenching and excavation hazards, available on its website.

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