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OSHA to enforce trenching rules

OHSA says that it will focus more on enforcing regulations related to trenching and excavation. This is according to a recent update to its National Emphasis Program (NEP). Between 2011 and 2016, 130 workers died while doing this type of work. Of those deaths, 80 percent came from workers in the private sector. Almost half of those deaths occurred between 2015 and 2016 alone, according to OSHA. Florida employers and others will receive guidance from OSHA in complying with the standard.

Specifically, the agency will engage in employer outreach for 90 days starting on Oct. 1. OSHA says that trenches must be inspected either as part of a planned program or during the course of a workday. Inspections must also take place if employers are made aware of potential hazards related to a trench or similar feature. According to OSHA, there is always the chance of a collapse when excavating, even if a potential disaster doesn't seem imminent.

There are several steps that can be taken to prevent a trench from collapsing. First, there should be protective systems installed if the trench is deeper than 5 feet. Furthermore, the trench must be cut at an angle while walls should be both shored and shielded. When designing a trench, it is critical that there is a safe way to both enter and exit at all times.

A work accident victim may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. This may be true whether the victim caused the accident or not. In most work injury cases, an individual will be entitled to a portion of their lost wages. Workers' compensation benefits may also help to pay medical bills related to the accident. If a claim is denied, an attorney could help file an appeal.

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