Law Office of Richard F. Maffett Experienced Harrisburg, PA Attorney
Call now for a free initial consultation
Phone: 717-260-3519
Toll Free: 888-246-5561

OSHA updates program on trenching and excavation safety

OSHA has updated its National Emphasis Program on trenching and excavation for the first time since 1985, mainly as a response to the increase in worker injuries and fatalities. Pennsylvania workers should know that the private construction industry accounted for 104 out of the 130 fatalities in trenching and excavation between 2011 and 2016. Approximately 49 percent of those fatalities occurred between 2015 and 2016 alone.

The update requires that for 90 days following Oct. 1, 2018, all regional and area OSHA offices are to conduct outreach with employers so that the latter can comply with the trenching and excavation standards. The Compliance and Safety and Health Officers must conduct inspections on any open trench or excavation regardless of whether it violates the standards.

A Quick Card accompanying the National Emphasis Program has summarized the basic requirements for trench and excavation safety. Trenches must have a safe entrance and exit, have cave-in protection measures in place if they are 5 feet or deeper and be free of standing water and atmospheric hazards. Equipment and materials must be away from the edge.

Trench walls should be sloped or benched at an angle away from the excavation. Hydraulic supports made from aluminum can prevent soil movement, and trench boxes will prevent soil cave-ins. A competent individual should inspect all trenches.

Compliance with safety standards will not prevent all accidents, but injured workers might still be covered for their medical expenses and for two-thirds of their lost income thanks to the workers' compensation program. Unlike with a personal injury claim, workers do not need to prove anyone was at fault; they will, however, be waiving their right to sue their employer for the same incident. Since workers' comp claims can be denied and prompt an appeal, workers may want a lawyer with them for each step of the process.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Let Us Help You With Your Legal Issue

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Law Office of Richard F. Maffett Experienced Harrisburg, PA Attorney

Law Office of Richard F. Maffett 2201 North 2nd Street Harrisburg, PA 17110 Toll Free: 888-246-5561 Phone: 717-260-3519 Fax: 717-233-2342 Map & Directions

* AV Preeminent and BV Distinguished are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell ratings fall into two categories - legal ability and general ethical standards.