In a resent article Optimal Trench Protection (A United Rentals Industry White Paper) Paul McDonnell explains the most common reasons for trench deaths.
Reasons for Limited Awareness and Use of Newer Methods
(Theses have been modified of course not his direct wording)
- They are not aware of OSHA's state and federal trench regulations & standards.
- They can not interpret the regulations & standards.
- The regulations & standards increase time frames and net costs.
- Trench accidents are rare.
- Safety regulations and standards are not enforced aggressively.
Well doesn't this list just kick you in the seat? We all know that for the most part this is true but it was a bit of a surprise when a Construction Magazine spewed forth the information. It really is a good article for newcomers.Of course I want to add my two cents worth to the list.
For all of the above....Do companies really go into a business blindly? I don't think so! Whether they are just starting out or seasoned they have to check out the cost of equipment, supplies, workers comp, insurance and regulations/standards.
If the company has the nads to chose 2-4 on the list. Well I will not get into what I think of them personally however it may make some since to call someone and ask, I am sure if a contractor doesn't understand a plan they call for help so why is it any different to call OSHA. PICK UP THE STINKING PHONE.
If a contractor choses 3 or 4, well I think maybe a little one on one with the family may be a good idea. Tell a child the reason their Daddy isn't coming home is it cost to much, took too much time to keep him alive or one person for the good of it all is ok.
Now number 5 this is the one that really needs addressed. OSHA involvement can make a difference but as of right now they are lacking the funds and inspectors to do the job. They really need to quit spending money on all the alliance programs and do there job. The don't have to be a butt to do this just be involved.
Anyone who has children knows what works there is a balance to everything. Be involved in the processes, make a presence and lay down the law with no exceptions. It really does no good to be a warlord or make threats as seems to be the method now. Any new business needs to be inspected and given the low down, if they make additions they should be inspected once again. Heck if I want to make an addition to my home I have to get a permit and inspection, then they raise my taxes. As far as the old businesses go they should have to send in paper work stating they have obtained all the standards and regulations that may apply and if not and they really are unsure PICK UP THE PHONE! Well at least that would settle the I had no clue issues. But maybe this is just to easy or it's not political enough.
After my rant we do need to make sure credit is given when due! Thumbs up to www.unitedrentals.com
"Expert Resources for Training and Information
In navigating increasingly complex trench protection issues, contractors, project owners and engineers have many resources for training, information and other support. These sources include companies like United Rentals Trench Safety, governmental agencies such as OSHA, NIOSH, and industry associations such as the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA)."
United Rentals had quite a few references and although I do not know the company personally I would have to say, "If they are willing to address these issues in the open they have my vote."