News Release From OSHA & U.S. Department of Labor

Denise GillinConstruction, Risk Management

By Kyp Ross for AssuredPartners

On July 14th, 2022 the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a press release regarding an uptick in fatalities. The press release, titled “Alarming rise in trench-related fatalities spurs US Department of Labor to announce enhanced nationwide enforcement, additional oversight” announced that during the first half of 2022, 22 workers have been victims of deadly hazards involving a trench and/or excavation work.

This number is alarmingly high, as there were a total of 15 fatalities in all of 2021. With this unfortunately high number, OSHA is evaluating the tools at their disposal to protect workers and keep safe working conditions. In additional to asking employers involved in trenching and excavating activities to ensure that all safety requirements are being met, they will also have OSHA compliance officers performing more than 1,000 trench inspections nationwide. OSHA will also review penalties for incidents, which may include criminal referrals for federal or state prosecution to hold employers and others accountable when their actions or inactions kill workers or put their lives at risk.

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