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Workers are still being trapped in excavations!
Fall can be as busy as spring when it comes to excavation work. Installing underground services means you have to excavate the earth and have workers enter those excavations. This creates hazards that can injure or kill those workers if proper precautions are not taken. The current OSHA regulation on workers entering excavations has been in place for 20+ years, yet injuries and deaths still occur. The rules are not difficult to implement, which means that employers and employees need to work together to make excavations safe places to work.

Here are the basics:

  • Plan out what needs to happen in the excavation before the digging begins so the protective measures will be on hand. This will lessen the amount of time the excavation needs to be open.
  • A competent person determines the soil type
  • Install the protective measures based on the soil type.
  • Don’t allow anyone in the excavation until the protective measure is installed and the competent person has done the inspection for all hazards.

The amount of time a worker will be required to be in an excavation has no bearing on whether or not protective measures will be used. ANY excavation 5’ or deeper must have these measures put in place. Along with the other requirements, workers will be able to leave the excavation on their own power.
OSHA Says:
OSHA has updated its National Emphasis Program (NEP) on preventing trenching and excavation collapses in response to a recent spike in trenching fatalities. Under the NEP, OSHA will increase its education and enforcement efforts; inspectors will record trenching and excavation inspections in a national reporting system; and each area office will develop outreach programs. The NEP began Oct. 1, with a three-month period of education and prevention outreach. For more information, click here to read their news release.


OSHA issued a memorandum clarifying the agency's position that its rule prohibiting employer retaliation against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses does not prohibit workplace safety incentive programs or post-incident drug testing. The Department believes that many employers who implement safety incentive programs and/or conduct post-incident drug testing do so to promote workplace safety and health. Action taken under a safety incentive program or post-incident drug testing policy would only violate OSHA's anti-retaliation rule if the employer took the action to penalize an employee for reporting a work-related injury or illness rather than for the legitimate purpose of promoting workplace safety and health. For more information, see the memorandum .

Brandon Black - (515) 577-5198 or  Brandon@IowaCSSI.com  
Tom Suckow - (515) 250-0773 or  Tom@IowaCSSI.com

New WORKSAFE Projects:
PROJECT:  Vintage Coop of Ames
CONTRACTOR:  Downing Construction Inc. - Indianola, IA

PROJECT:  Lisbon CSD Additions
CONTRACTOR:  Larson Construction Inc. - Independence, IA

PROJECT:  Waukee Second High School
CONTRACTOR:  Larson Construction Inc. - Independence, IA
PROJECT:  Vintage Cooperative of Iowa City
CONTRACTOR:  Knutson Construction Services, Inc. - Iowa City, IA

PROJECT:  Ellis Landings
CONTRACTOR:  Knutson Construction Services, Inc. - Iowa City, IA

PROJECT:  Mercy Campus - ICUP (Integrated Central Utilities Plant)
CONTRACTOR:  Graham Construction Co. - Des Moines, IA / McCarthy Improvement Co. - Davenport, IA

CONTRACTOR:  The Hansen Company, Inc. - Johnston, IA
PROJECT:  Spurgeon Manor Assisted Living Facility
CONTRACTOR:  Graham Construction Co. - Des Moines, IA

PROJECT:  Broadlawns Medical Center - Sands Second Floor Vertical Expansion
CONTRACTOR:  Graham Construction Co. - Des Moines, IA

PROJECT:  Methodist Jennie Edmondson - Medical Office Building
CONTRACTOR: Graham Construction Co. - Des Moines, IA
WORKSAFE is a partnership between Master Builders of Iowa and Iowa OSHA, with safety services provided by Construction Safety Specialists, Inc. For more information on the WORKSAFE program or for safety inquiries, please contact Tom Suckow at 515-657-4384 or  Tom@IowaCSSI.com

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