The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will co-host an excavation and trenching safety training event September 16 in Southlake, Texas, with the North Texas National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA North Texas). In July, OSHA announced plans for 1,000 site inspections to address a rise in trenching and excavation fatalities.
In the first six months of this year, 22 U.S. workers died in trenching and excavation-related incidents—a 68% increase over 2021. Under the trenching and excavation inspection push, agency compliance safety and health officers (CSHO) may stop by and inspect any excavation site they encounter during their daily duties.
More than 500 participants are expected at the Southlake training event, including 118 students from the Keller Center for Advanced Learning in Keller, Texas. Area firefighters will also demonstrate trench rescue and recovery.
Additionally, OSHA has an ongoing National Emphasis Program (NEP), launched October 1, 2018, of outreach, inspection, and enforcement to address trenching and excavation hazards.
Owens Corning plant recognized as ‘Star’ site
On September 13, OSHA announced that Owens Corning’s Denver, Colorado, asphalt plant has been designated a “Star” site in the agency’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). OSHA has recognized 15 Owens Corning facilities in the VPP program. The Denver asphalt plant was first awarded the VPP designation in 2009.
VPP Star status is OSHA’s highest level of recognition for employers and workers implementing effective safety and health management systems who have maintained injury and illness rates below the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ industry averages.
VPP is one of OSHA’s cooperative programs that include the Alliance Program, OSHA Challenge Program, OSHA Strategic Partnership Program (OSPP), and Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). The agency’s cooperative efforts also include confidential, no-cost, on-site consultation.
VPP offers employees and company management assistance with hazard prevention and control, worksite analysis, and training while emphasizing management commitment and worker involvement.
“Owens Corning has committed leaders dedicated to safety and health excellence at every level of this worksite,” Jennifer Rous, OSHA’s Denver regional administrator, said in an agency statement. “Employee engagement is a fundamental requirement of the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program, and this site is an outstanding example of involvement, empowerment, and ownership at the employee level.”
OSHA forms partnership in multifamily construction project
OSHA also announced the formation of a strategic partnership with Ryan Companies US Inc. to promote worker safety and health during the construction of a multifamily housing project in Bradenton, Florida.
“Public-private sector partnerships that focus on training and eliminating hazards during major construction projects are proven methods for improving workplace safety and health,” Danelle Jindra, OSHA’s Tampa, Florida, area office director, said in an agency statement. “We applaud Ryan Companies US Inc. for developing workplace safety and health programs that focus on preventing exposure to deadly hazards in construction, so that every worker on the project ends their shift safely.”
The partnership features a contractor-government approach to safety and health, assisting project contractors in developing and implementing safety and health management systems and providing training to employers, workers, and supervisors.
OSPP partnerships involve employers, employees, professional and trade associations, labor organizations, and other stakeholders to establish specific goals, strategies, and performance measures focused on worker safety and health.