ND Alliance to Improve Trench Safety

Trenching and excavation hazards are some of the top most-frequently cited OSHA violations in North Dakota.

Working in trenches and excavations is hazardous to both the workers who work inside them, and to workers on the surface.

The hazards include:

  • Cave-ins or collapses that can trap workers;
  • Equipment or excavated soil falling on workers (e.g., equipment operated or soil/debris stored too close to the excavation);
  • Falling into the trench or excavation;
  • Flooding or water accumulation;
  • Exposure to a hazardous atmosphere (e.g., gas, vapor, dust, or lack of oxygen);
  • Contact with buried service lines such as electrical, natural gas, water, sewage, telecommunications, etc;
  • Contact with overhead electrical lines;
  • Slips, trips and falls as workers climb on and off equipment, or from inappropriate access and egress methods;
  • Being struck by moving machinery, or by falling or flying objects; and
  • Hazards related to materials handling (e.g., lifting, struck by, crushed between, etc.).

Now, a new alliance, compromised of OSHA, as well as key stakeholders in the state, is aiming to improve workplace safety and health measures to reduce those hazards.

Alliance members include:

  • Workforce Safety and Insurance;
  • North Dakota Safety Council;
  • Associated Builders and Contractors of North Dakota;
  • Associated General Contractors of North Dakota;
  • Bakken Basin Consortium, Energy Coalition for Contractor Safety;
  • North Dakota One Call;
  • NIOSH;
  • The MONDAKS Safety Network; and
  • OSHA.

Alliance partners will train inspectors and auditors to identify trench hazards, provide outreach activities and presentations on trenching and excavating, and assist with developing training materials, hazard warnings, and safety alerts.