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September 26, 2022
OSHA announces trench safety summit

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it will host the Colorado Trench Safety Summit October 5 in Brighton, Colorado, with the North American Excavation Shoring Association (NAXSA) in a joint effort to stem a rise in the number of trenching fatalities in the state. Since early 2021, 7 trenching-related fatalities have been reported in Colorado, and 22 workers died in the United States in related incidents in the first 6 months of 2022.

The free event will include classroom training, roundtable discussions, and live demonstrations.

The agency co-hosted a similar excavation and trenching safety training event September 16 in Southlake, Texas, with the North Texas National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA North Texas). In addition to its training outreach, OSHA has stepped up enforcement.

OSHA has had an excavation and trenching hazards national emphasis program (NEP) since October 1, 2018, but announced plans in July for 1,000 site inspections to address the 68 percent increase this year in excavation and trenching fatalities over 2021.

In most cases, the workers were victims of trench and excavation cave-ins, according to OSHA. The agency pointed out that safety experts estimate that 1 cubic yard of soil can weigh more than 3,000 pounds, making it difficult, if not impossible, to escape or survive a trench collapse.

Despite OSHA’s primary roles in federal enforcement and rulemaking, the agency sponsors training events like those in Brighton and Southlake; offers confidential, no-cost on-site consultations; and oversees several cooperative programs that include the Alliance Program, OSHA Challenge Program, OSHA Strategic Partnership Program (OSPP), Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), and Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).

ND, SD VPP ‘Star’ employers

On September 20, OSHA announced it had bestowed VPP Star status on Cardinal IG, a Fargo, North Dakota, glass manufacturer. The company earned recognition as Star-Level VPP site for its initiative-taking safety and health programs, according to the agency.

Cardinal IG, a division of Cardinal Glass Industries in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, employs 354 workers.

OSHA initially approved the facility as a VPP site in February 2017. Cardinal IG in Fargo was the first site within the company to achieve OSHA VPP, but the organization now has 10 sites in the program.

Cardinal IG manufactures glass products for the residential window and door industry, according to OSHA.

“The site maintains excellent housekeeping practices to promote workplace safety and also has a very comprehensive health and wellness program,” OSHA’s Denver Regional Administrator Jennifer S. Rous said in an agency statement. “Star Level designation in the Voluntary Protection Program is the highest safety achievement a company can earn from OSHA. Cardinal’s commitment to employee safety and health is very evident at all levels of this workplace.”

OSHA also announced that Hendrickson Trailer Suspension Systems in Mitchell, South Dakota, had been recertified as a VPP Star site.

The Woodridge, Illinois-based Hendrickson employs about 79 workers in Mitchell and about 3,500 nationwide, according to OSHA. The Mitchell site was initially approved as a VPP site in February 2009.

Hendrickson now has 8 VPP sites nationwide, and 7 sites hold International Standards Organization (ISO) 45001 Certifications. ISO 45001 is an international voluntary standard for occupational safety and health management systems.

Under OSHA’s VPP, the agency, labor, and management establish cooperative relationships at workplaces that have implemented comprehensive safety and health management systems. VPP recognizes employers and employees who have created exemplary worksite safety and health management systems. 

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