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Strategies to prevent trenching-related injuries and deaths.

Plog BA; Materna B; Vannoy J; Gillen M
Silver Spring, MD: The Center to Protect Workers' Rights, 2006 Mar; :1-19
Trenching-related injuries continue to plague the construction industry, despite the availability of well-known and effective control methods, such as sloping and benching, shoring, and trench boxes and shields. Although trench collapses are not the most common cause of construction deaths, collapses are likely to result in death or serious injury within minutes. Other workers are often at risk trying to conduct rescues. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data show that, in 2003, construction workers were 7 percent of the U.S. workforce, but suffered 21 percent of the nation's 5,575 reported work-related deaths. That same year, nonfatal rates of injury and illness involving days away from construction work were 259.4 per 10,000 full-time equivalents (FTEs),1 higher than for agriculture, mining, and manufacturing. More than 30 construction workers are killed each year nationwide in trenching or excavation-related incidents, and many more suffer injuries and near-misses (BLS data). There is clearly a need to better understand why these injuries continue to occur and to take further action to prevent them. The goal of this project was to use data, interviews, site visits, and observation to develop strategies to prevent trenching-related injuries and deaths. The project focused on safety interventions for trenching workers in California, where the authors are based, but the strategies should be applicable throughout the United States construction industry.
Construction; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Construction-materials; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Work-environment; Work-practices; Worker-health; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Mortality-data; Mortality-rates; Health-hazards; Traumatic-injuries; Excavation-equipment; Protective-equipment; Protective-materials; Protective-measures; Confined-spaces; Ground-control; Ground-stability; Control-equipment; Control-methods
Building and Construction Trades Dept., AFL-CIO: CPWR, Suite 1000, 8484 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910
Publication Date
Document Type
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement; Construction
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-317202; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U01-OH-007307
Priority Area
Source Name
Strategies to Prevent Trenching-Related Injuries and Deaths
Performing Organization
The Center to Protect Workers' Rights
Page last reviewed: March 18, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division