Courtesy Efficiency Production

Construction can be a dangerous job. Sadly, it can even be deadly, as has been evident in recent jobsite tragedies across the country. To bring attention to the importance of construction site and trench safety industry associations such as the NAHB, the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA), the North American Excavation Shoring Association, and the Trench Shoring and Shielding Association are teaming up to promote and support the national 2019 Trench Safety Stand Down, June 17-21.

“Victims of trench collapses rarely survive,” notes George Kennedy, NUCA safety vice president. “Even if only buried to mid-chest, victims of collapses often suffocate or succumb to crush injuries. In light of the recent increase of trench fatalities on smaller jobs and shallower trenches, builders can expect to see OSHA paying closer attention to their jobsites. Trench boxes and trench shielding are not expensive to rent and are well worth the small investment.”

The Safety Stand Down presents the opportunity for construction site employers to talk directly to employees and others about safety. The effort will focus on trench and excavation hazards and reinforce the importance of using trench protective systems and protecting workers from trenching hazards.

“NAHB is committed to educating the nation’s home builders and trade contractors about the importance of trenching safety,” said Rob Matuga, assistant vice president of the NAHB Labor, Safety, and Health Policy department. “Through the Trench Safety Stand Down, we will be able to raise awareness about excavation operations, which are among the most hazardous in residential construction, so no worker enters an unprotected trench.”

Anyone who wants to prevent trenching and excavation hazards in the workplace can participate in the stand down, including residential, utility, and highway construction companies. Participating firms will agree to schedule a break on their jobsite(s) to have a toolbox talk or another safety activity to draw attention to the specific hazards related to working in and around trenches/excavations. NUCA, which is leading the initiative, will provide a certificate to all participating companies, list the company names in its publications, and provide hardhat stickers to all participating workers whose names are provided by their organizations.

By reaching as many workers as possible through this effort, the goal is to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries that occur each year in our industry, and to make others, such as municipal and industry workers who are also exposed, aware of these serious hazards. For more information on the Trench Safety Stand Down and how your company can participate, visit