The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has made available the “look-back” study for OSHA’s construction standard on excavations.

In 1989, OSHA issued a final, revised Excavations Standard to reduce deaths and injuries from excavation and trenching activities in the construction industry. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 directs OSHA to review and evaluate the effectiveness of its standards and the impact those standards have had on lowering injuries, illnesses and fatalities in the workplace. The agency undertook the Regulatory Flexibility Act review of the Excavations Standard to determine whether the rule should be continued without change or should be amended or revoked.

“Our regulatory review found that the 1989 Excavations Standard has reduced deaths from approximately 90 per year to 70 per year. In addition, overall construction industry activity, when adjusted for inflation, has increased 20 percent,” said Edwin G. Foulke Jr., assistant secretary of labor for Occupational Safety and Health. “As a result, the OSHA Standard will remain in effect, although, we will be looking to issue some improved guidance and training materials to help employers keep their employees safe.”

Copies of the report may be obtained from OSHA’s Office of Publications, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-3101, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., 20210. The telephone number is 202.693.1888. The full report, comments and referenced documents are available for review at the OSHA Docket Office, new Docket Number 2007-0012, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-2625, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., 20210. The phone number is 202.693.2350.

Copies of the report are available also at www.regulations.gov and on the OSHA Web site at www.osha.govEC