OSHA Training Center at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District Adds Safety Curriculum to Raise Trenching and Excavation Hazard Awareness

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Upcoming Courses Aim to Reduce Accidents Associated with One of the Most Hazardous Construction Operations

Julia Dozier, District Executive Director of Economic Development and Contract Education, Chabot-Las Positas Community College District, OSHA Training Center

Julia Dozier, District Executive Director of Economic Development and Contract Education

Trenching and excavation are widely recognized as among the most hazardous construction operations, resulting in an average of two deaths per month and hundreds of injuries each year due to trench collapses.

The OSHA Training Center at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District, the only authorized OSHA Training Institute Education Center in Northern California, has announced the addition of safety courses designed to raise awareness and reduce accidents associated with trenching and excavation on construction worksites. The courses are based on safety standards developed for the construction industry by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration to clarify OSHA requirements and provide construction employers with various options for classifying soil and selecting employee protection methods.

“Trenching and excavation are widely recognized as among the most hazardous construction operations, resulting in an average of two deaths per month and hundreds of injuries each year due to trench collapses,” said Julia Dozier, Director of the OSHA Training Center at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District. “It is vitally important for construction employers to be fully knowledgeable of OSHA safety standards and to provide appropriate training and protection to all personnel working in or near trenches and excavations.”

The primary hazard of trenching and excavation is the potential for collapse. Since one cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car, cave-ins pose the greatest risk and are much more likely than other excavation-related accidents to result in worker fatalities or serious injury. An unprotected trench can literally become an early grave. Additional excavation hazards include the use of heavy machinery for digging; electrical hazards from overhead and underground power-lines; underground utilities, such as natural gas; falling loads; and hazardous atmospheres.

OSHA standards require that trenching and excavation sites are inspected daily and as conditions change by a competent person who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards or working conditions that are hazardous to workers; can identify soil types and design appropriate protective systems; and is authorized to take corrective measures to eliminate hazards and dangerous conditions. All workers should be trained in the proper use of protective equipment and made aware of potential hazards before working in or near excavation sites.

The OSHA Training Center encourages construction employers interested in learning more about OSHA safety standards for trenching and excavation to attend and/or send representatives to one or both of the following upcoming courses:

Excavation, Trenching and Soil Mechanics

Participants will learn about practical soil mechanics and the relationship to the stability of shored and unshored slopes and walls of excavations. Various types of shoring, including hydraulic and wood timbers, are covered; testing methods are demonstrated; and a field exercise is conducted, offering hands-on experience with various instruments, such as penetrometers, torvane shears and engineering rods. No prerequisites.

Managing Excavation Hazards

This introductory class will provide an overview and application of definitions relating to OSHA’s excavation standard, excavation hazards and control measures, soil analysis techniques, protective system requirements and emergency response. No prerequisites.

About the OSHA Training Center

The OSHA Training Center at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District offers high quality Occupational Safety & Health Administration standards-based training for construction, maritime and general industry at its Center in Dublin, California, as well as locations throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam. Programs offered include OSHA safety standards, Outreach Trainer courses, Cal/OSHA standards curriculum, environmental courses and customized on-site safety training. For more information, including a complete course schedule, visit the OSHA Training Center website or call (866) 936-OSHA (6742).

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