Each year, the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) schedules a week-long Trench Safety Stand Down. This year, the event being held June 14–18.
Founded in 1964, the National Utility Contractors Association, Fairfax, Va., represents nearly 1,700 U.S. utility and excavation contractors, manufacturers and suppliers that provide the materials and workforces necessary to build and maintain the nation’s network of water, sewer, gas, telecommunications and electric infrastructure.
The Trench Safety Stand Down is designed to present opportunities for employers to talk directly with their employees and others about safety as it relates to working in and around job site trenches and other excavation sites.
“These Stand Downs will focus on trench and excavation hazards and reinforce the importance of using trench protective systems and protecting workers from trenching hazards,” according to NUCA.
NUCA’s first Trench Safety Stand Down was held in 2016, and a year later, OSHA joined as a partner in the event.
“The goal of the event is to reach out to the many workers who work in and around trenches and excavations to provide them with information about current excavation requirements and safety procedures for working in trenches,” NUCA stated. “By reaching as many workers as possible, we can reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries that occur each year in our industry, and make others, such as municipal and industry workers who are also exposed, aware of these serious hazards.”
NUCA emphasizes that anyone who wants to prevent trenching and excavation hazards in their workplace is welcome to participate in the Stand Down. In specific, however, NUCA encourages participation by utility construction, residential construction, highway construction, plumbers, military, unions, associations, educational institutions and safety equipment manufacturers.
To conduct a Trench Safety Stand Down, NUCA recommends employers take breaks to hold toolbox talks or other safety activities designed to draw attention to the hazards specific to work in and around trenches and excavations.
During NUCA’s 2020 Trench Safety Stand Down, 32,000 employees from more than 200 organizations across 3,500 job sites participated.
NUCA’s Trench Safety Stand Down website has a number of trench safety resources for use during the Stand Down or other safety briefings. These resources are available for free and include a daily excavation checklist, an excavation trench safety presentation and a trench safety handout, available at https://www.nuca.com/tssd.