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NIOSH Testimony on Safety Standards for Excavations in the Construction Industry by R. A. Lemen, April 19, 1988.

NIOSH 1988 Apr:4 pages
This testimony concerns the position of NIOSH on the proposed OSHA ruling concerning safety standards for excavations in the construction industry. NIOSH supports OSHA's efforts in promulgating this rule. Several estimates of the frequency of injury and death have been made by NIOSH as they relate to excavation cave ins. A yearly average of 1,559 injuries, 58 permanently disabling injuries, and 42 fatalities has been demonstrated. NIOSH has recently completed a review of 85 fatal excavation cave ins reported to OSHA from 1974 through 1981. These cave ins caused 92 fatalities. Fifty five of the cave ins occurred in vertical walled excavations of over 5 feet in depth. Seventeen involved excavations with sloped side walls but the average slope had only 60% of the horizontal displacement recommended by the National Bureau of Standards. In Fatal Accident Circumstances and Epidemiology studies of four incidents of excavation cave ins, NIOSH concluded that all deaths would have been prevented had the industry been following this proposed OSHA standard.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Testimony; Lemen-R-A; Accident-prevention; Accident-analysis; Construction-workers; Standards; Regulations; Safety-measures;
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
Priority Area
Infectious Diseases; Disease and Injury;
Source Name
NIOSH, 4 pages
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division