· Trenches and Excavations
CONN-OSHA Family Welcomes Brian Testa
Listen Up! – A toolbox talk could save
· Choosing the Right Classification of Safety Vest
Hazard Corner ...
Connecticut-OSHA Training Update
Trenches and Excavations
By: James (Jim) Fusaro, Compliance Safety and Health
Who’s in Charge
On average, national statistics show that two
workers are killed each month in trench collapses and many
more are injured. With the proper know-how and the use of
the proper equipment, this statistic should be zero.
The picture above was taken by me several
months ago in a town which shall remain nameless, as I’m not
out to embarrass anyone. But it depicts what I found when
responding to an accident which had occurred near the
excavation. I’m sure that many of you reading this article
got a good chuckle out of it if you perform this type of
work, as the problems should be quite obvious.
The most common problem that we find on this
type of job is the lack of a “Competent Person” being on
site, which is defined by the OSHA
regulations, 49 CFR §1926.650(b) as
is capable of
identifying existing and predictable hazards in the
surroundings, or working conditions which are unsanitary,
hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has
authorization to take prompt corrective measures to
I have been on sites where when I asked, “who
is the competent person?”, I got no response, and I’ve also
been on sites where everyone on the crew raised their hand.
Someone should be the designated competent person, so
everyone knows who is in charge of that site, and every
worker should know who that person is.
Other important things to consider for
Know where the underground
utilities are located (Call Before You Dig);
Keep heavy equipment and
spoil piles at least twofeet
away from trench edges
The competent person
inspects the excavation before
are allowed to enter the trench and before each shift,
after any rainstorm, or if the conditions have changed;
A trench box or approved
shoring is in place if the
over 5 feet deep (it must be designed by a professional
engineer if the trench is 20 feet deep or more);
A ladder, or other means
of safe access/egress, is
within 25 feet of all workers if the trench is 4 feet or
Do not work under raised
Test air quality for low
oxygen, hazardous vapors
I don’t know about you, but I would hate to
be a supervisor, crew chief, co-worker or a union steward to
make “that call”. What call you ask? “The call” that tells
the spouse or family member of the employee who was on my
work site that there was a cave-in. The call to inform them
that they are listed as their loved one’s next of kin and
that I have bad news for them.
So, as we prepare for the warmer weather
(finally!) and the time when scheduled road, water and sewer
maintenance is picking up, please take the time to ensure
that you and your employees and co-workers are safe when
entering trenches and excavations. And finally,
NEVER ENTER AND UPROTECTED TRENCH!
Connecticut Department of
Labor - OSHA
38 Wolcott Hill Road
Wethersfield, CT 06109
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The CONN-OSHA Family Welcomes Brian Testa
Brian recently joined CONN-OSHA as a
public sector Occupational Hygienist in the
consultation program. His previous employment of
seven years with the Department of Public Health,
Occupational Health Unit and Lead Poisoning
Prevention and Control Programs followed ten years
of public health experience at a Connecticut
municipal health department. Brian received a MS in
Industrial Hygiene, a BS in Environmental Public
Health and currently holds an Occupational Health
and Safety Technologist certification.
The U. S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) also welcomes
two new appointments within the department.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for
Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels
Dorothy Dougherty as the new deputy
assistant secretary for the Occupational Safety and
Administration. Dougherty brings more
than 32 years of federal experience to this
served for 22 years in OSHA and
several years in the Mine Safety and Health
Administration as an
industrial hygienist and coal mine
Mr. Robert Hooper has been appointed
as Acting Regional Administrator of OSHA’s Region 1
Office, Boston, Massachusetts. We wish them both
Listen Up! – A toolbox talk
could save your life
By Eric Giguere
Toolbox talks, tailgate meetings, safety time
outs, crew briefings. The name varies depending on the scope
of work being done, but it doesn’t matter what they’re
called. These mandatory, five to 10-minute conversations
about safety at a jobsite have real value. That is, if you
take them seriously.
When I was working in the field, we were
required to have toolbox talks a few times a week, but we
never did. We might have had them every other week.
Regardless, they all pretty much went the same way. At 6:45
a.m., while we drank our coffee before our 7 a.m. shift, my
boss would come up to us and say something like, “Wear your
safety glasses, don’t get hurt, sign this and now get to
That was it. That was our safety meeting for
the day. No time for feedback, or a conversation, just get
to work. Sadly, we were okay with that.
Since then, I’ve learned that a toolbox talk
should be more; it should encourage conversation on a safety
topic or changing condition at the jobsite that may affect
the day’s work, and everyone’s safety. It’s a tool to use to
give every worker a chance to speak up and share any
concerns that he or she may have.
So why is this important to you? Why should
you consider it more than just a small social gathering
where you can talk about last night’s football game?
The answer is really quite simple. Ninety
percent of all workplace accidents are caused by unsafe acts
conditions. If these acts and conditions can be addressed in
a short, simple meeting, you’ll be more aware, and have a
better chance of going home to your family every night. A
10-minute talk that you’re getting
paid for can be the difference
between going home from work or going to the hospital.
Don’t be like my crew was back in the day and
blow off these meetings. Don’t tune them out.
Take them seriously.
Toolbox talks are the perfect chance for you
to bring up safety ideas or concerns that you may have.
Participate in your safety meeting. If you don’t, you won’t
be heard. What you’ve learned through personal experience
won’t be shared. Who knows, the idea you share during that
brief meeting could be the one that saves
your coworker’s life – or even your own.
Don’t cheat yourself or your family. Take
these meetings to heart and pay attention. Toolbox talks
exist for you,
the worker, and for your family,
who appreciate it when you step through the front door each
night. This Article was reprinted with permission from “My
Safety” magazine, Fall 2013 Issue. My Safety magazine is
Choosing the Right
Classification of Safety Vest
a hi-visibility safety vest for your employees can be
difficult and confusing.
There are different colors, classes,
reflective, non-reflective, long sleeve, short sleeve, upper
body, lower body, full body. Where do you start?
Per OSHA requirements, vests must meet the
requirements of American National Standards Institute
(ANSI), specifically ANSI 107. ANSI/ISEA requires
high-visibility apparel manufacturers to include specific
information about their products on the inside label of each
garment, including the performance classification number and
a pictogram or drawing of the garment. Read the label to
make sure the garment is ANSI/ISEA compliant and that it
meets your needs. The retro-reflective material should be
visible at a minimum distance of 1,000 feet.
If you work in a street or highway and you’re
exposed to traffic or construction equipment, you must wear
a high visibility garment. Emergency responders and law
enforcement officers must also wear high-visibility apparel
when they are doing traffic control, cleanup,
investigations, or similar tasks.
Some examples of occupations by class are:
ANSI Class 1: Shopping Cart Retrievers,
Warehouse Workers, Delivery Truck Drivers
ANSI Class 2 or 3: Roadway Construction
Workers, Utility Workers, Surveyors, Emergency
& Casualty Reporting
State & Town:
263-6946 (local) or 1-866-241-4060
Report to Federal OSHA at
Hazard Corner ...
In the past two years, 34 workers lost their
lives to trenching cave-ins. In the U.S..
On Friday, August 19, 2005, at approximately
12:00 p.m., a 24-year-old worker died when he was buried
under a wall of the trench he was working in. The excavation
wall and part of the sidewalk next to the concrete garage
floor collapsed onto him while he was attempting to attach
the new PVC pipe he and his coworkers had installed that
morning to the main sewer in the alley. One of the
decedent’s co-workers was also caught in the collapse. Two
other workers on-site, neighbors who heard their calls for
help, and firefighters who arrived on the scene were able to
extricate the decedent’s co-worker (the company owner) from
He was transported to a hospital and
recovered. The decedent's body was recovered from the
8 hours after the wall collapses.
self-employed contractors should slope or
shore or use trench boxes in all excavations greater
Employers and self-employed contractors
should ensure that excavations are inspected by a
competent person prior to start of work and as needed
throughout a shift to look for evidence of any situation
that could result in possible cavein.
self-employed contractors should design,
develop, and implement a comprehensive safety program
that includes training in hazard
recognition and avoiding unsafe conditions.
Emergency medical services
and fire-rescue personnel should be
knowledgeable about proper rescue techniques involving
excavation sites and ensure that adequate shoring
equipment is on hand at all times.
The full article is available
workshop the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) will be
reviewed along with the major changes of 29 CFR
1910.1200: hazard classification, pictograms and safety
Confined Space Safety March 12, 2014 from
10:00 a.m. to noon This
workshop discusses the basic requirements and procedures
involved with permit-required confined spaces as
detailed in 29 CFR 1910.146.
Construction Site Safety April 4, 2014
from 9:00 a.m. to noon
Construction managers, first line supervisors, and
construction employees will be provided with an overview
of four areas of concern on the construction site.
Program contents include: fall protection, scaffolding
and ladder safety, electrical hazards, and excavation &
Work Zone Safety April 9, 2014, from
10:00 a.m. to noon Basic
guidelines for work zone traffic control and the
requirements of Part VI of the Manual on Uniform Traffic
Control Devices (MUTCD) with particular emphasis on
short term work sites on roads and streets in rural and
small urban areas will be presented.
Trenching & Excavation May 21, 2014 from
10:00 a.m. to noon This
workshop will provide an overview of 29 CFR 1926.650
-652 excavations, including the role of the competent
person. The session is designed to assist participants
in identifying hazards associated with excavations and
Safe Driving – Get There Safely EVERY
Time June 18, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to noon
Work-related vehicle crashes are the
leading cause of occupational fatalities according to
the U.S. Dept. of Labor. The goal of this session is to
increase awareness of the need for, and the benefits of
This discussion group meets the third
Tuesday of every month from 8:15 am to 9:45 am.
Pre-registration is required. Visit our web page for
To be placed on the
list, contact John Able at
Classes are free and are held
at 200 Folly Brook Boulevard, Wethersfield, CT in Conference
Room A/B (unless otherwise noted). To register, contact
Catherine Zinsser at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Pre-registration is required.
A Photo I.D. is also required to allow entry into a public
building. For more training information, visit the CONN-OSHA
web site www.ConnOsha.com
March 01, 2017