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Renewed alliance to train, protect ND workers from trenching hazards

BISMARCK – To combat the dangers workers face in trenching and excavation operations, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and key stakeholders have renewed an alliance to train workers on trenching and excavation hazards.

The alliance will focus on educating employees and employers about cave-ins, struck-by heavy equipment, falling loads and vehicular traffic in close proximity to the excavation operations and raise awareness of workers’ rights and employers’ responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The alliance signing took place Monday at the North Dakota Safety Council campus in Bismarck.

“Trench collapses can be deadly for excavation workers. Employers can prevent collapses by sloping, shoring and shielding trench walls and training workers to recognize hazards and use proactive safety procedures,” said OSHA’s Area Director Scott Overson in Bismarck. “This alliance provides its contractor members with training and access to resources to improve workplace safety in this high-hazard industry.”

The following organizations are joining with OSHA in the alliance:

– Workforce Safety and Insurance

– Energy Coalition for Contractor Safety

– North Dakota Safety Council

– North Dakota One Call

– Associated Builders and Contractors of North Dakota

– Bakken Basin Safety Consortium

– Associated General Contractors of North Dakota

An implementation team, which comprises representatives of each organization, will meet to develop a plan of action, determine working procedures and identify the roles and responsibilities of the participants. In addition, they will meet up to twice annually to track and share information on activities and results in achieving the goals of the alliance and promote available training by each organization.

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