An alarming leap in excavation and trench-related fatalities has made reducing them an Agency Priority Goal for OSHA for 2018.

The agency plans to accomplish this by increasing awareness of trenching hazards in construction, educating employers and workers on safe cave-in prevention solutions, and decreasing the number of trench collapses.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, excavation and trench-related fatalities in 2016 were nearly double the average of the previous five years.

OSHA will issue public service announcements, support the National Utility Contractors Association’s 2018 Trench Safety Stand Down, update online resources on trench safety, and work with other industry associations and public utility companies to create an effective public-private effort to save lives. OSHA’s trenching and excavation national emphasis program is also currently under revision.

For more information on trench safety, visit OSHA's safety and health topics page.