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Open utility trench across city street while crew working on a rainy day.

Trench Safety Stand Down Week

June 18-23 is Trench Safety Stand Down Week and our team would like to take this time to raise awareness and discuss safety related to a trench collapse.

What is a Safety Stand Down? This is an opportunity for employers to speak to their team about safety. It can be anything from taking a few minutes before a meeting (otherwise known as a Sunbelt Safety Moment or toolbox talk) to discuss general safety, or focusing on specific hazards related to working environments, in this case trenches/excavations.

This week is dedicated to information geared toward how you can prevent trenching fatalities and accidents.

Per OSHA, trenching and excavation are among the most hazardous construction operations. Follow these tips to avoid dangers related to trenching:

  • Do not enter an unprotected trench
  • Make sure your trenches are inspected daily and be sure you have a competent person (one who can identify existing and predictable hazards or working conditions) authorized to take measure to control any hazards
  • Use protective systems such as shoring, sloping, and shielding.

Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2011-2015, 94 American workers were killed in trench collapses, and in 2016, 23 U.S. workers died and 12 were injured in collapses.

If you’re ever in a situation where a trench collapse occurs, stay calm and follow these suggestions:

  • Get everyone out of the trench who is not trapped
  • Call 911 and report the cave-in
  • Keep the uninvolved workers at least 100 feet from the trench
  • Do not try to dig out the victim – you could make it worse

Remember, the best way to avoid a trench collapse is to follow the safety protocol associated with trenching and excavation. If you want to assist in preventing trenching and excavation hazards, join in on the conversation and participate in the Stand Down.


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