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Coble Trench Safety Hosts OSHA Training in Knoxville Area

By: Mary Reed

Training Director Doug Barnes leads one of Coble Trench Safety’s training sessions in the Knoxville, Tenn., branch, the recently opened 11th branch for the company.
Response to the training has been very positive among the many attendees who have come to Coble for safety training.

It’s been said the longest chapter in the book is the chapter of accidents.

However, with the recent opening of its eleventh branch in Knoxville, Tenn., safety specialist Coble Trench Safety (CTS) is tackling this problem by providing OSHA training courses to customers in the area.

These courses are in addition to the company’s rental and sales of a wide selection of trench safety, confined space, traffic safety and supporting equipment.

Based in Greensboro, N.C., Coble Trench Safety describes its OSHA courses as being designed to keep personnel up-to-date on the latest OSHA standards and safe business practices as well as helping ensure crews have the information they need to comply with relevant OSHA standards and guidelines, thus promoting safety and preventing potential fines and work stoppages.

At present the Knoxville branch offers two regularly scheduled OSHA courses: one focuses on OSHA’s requirement of a “competent person” being present during trenching and excavation work, and the other deals with confined space entry awareness. The location also provides OSHA 10, OSHA 30 and flagger training as required by customers.

Both courses have been approved for continuing education credit by local credit granting authorities, such as the Water Pollution Control System Operators Certification Commission, North Carolina Water Board, North Caroline Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors and other organizations. Professional development and continuing education hours also may be available for other organizations as all boards and commissions do not specifically approve training programs, leaving the relevancy of material to the discretion of the attendee.

“Classes cover the technical standard from OSHA as well as practical hands-on applications of the standards.


In our ‘competent person’ class, we begin by covering what OSHA does and some of the basic penalties for noncompliance that OSHA may assess,” Coble Trench Safety Marketing Manager Steven Barnhardt explained. “We then transition to teaching the students the general framework of the OSHA regulations that they must operate within, as well as the potentially dangerous and fatal consequences of non-compliance. After providing the framework, we try to help the students understand how to maintain compliance to keep workers safe while maintaining or improving job site efficiency.

“We are uniquely positioned to be able to offer this advice as we provide many types of protective systems to meet the individual needs of a project. As a result we have an in-depth understanding of the issues that may arise on a job and why a particular system works well within that application,” he went on. “The field experience of our instructors is a unique element compared with classes taught by other organizations without a similar thorough trench safety knowledge. The ability of our instructors to put the standard and ways to compliantly address the standard in practical terms to a student, ranging from laborer to foreman to owner, is something our students appreciate and acknowledge routinely.”

Under OSHA’s competent person regulations, all excavation work must have a designated person responsible for safety on site. He or she also must possess authority to order and take prompt corrective actions if needed.

The competent person course covers OSHA Standard 1926 Subpart P, and deals with:

• sloping and benching

• timber and aluminum hydraulic shoring

• protective systems

• site-specific engineering

• required standards

• identification of current and predictable hazards

• soil analysis

Scott Ward, safety director of Sevierville, Tenn.,-based Charles Blalock & Sons Inc., described Coble Trench Safety’s Excavation Competent Person training class as one of the best excavation courses he has ever attended of many taken during his 13 years as a safety director.

“I took their course as a refresher training course for myself since I teach excavation safety to our employees. Little did I know I would learn a lot more about soil mechanics and protective systems than ever before,” Ward said.

“Getting trained by the people who sell protective systems is a good thing because they offer so much more in-depth training on soil mechanics, protective systems, design and function,” he continued. “I would recommend their class to anyone who needs excavation training. Coble also can assist with your excavation needs from on-site evaluations, pre-work surveys and protective system rentals and purchases. I’m glad we have them as a resource for our excavation protection needs and would recommend their services to anyone.”

The confined space entry course is designed for all levels of personnel dealing with these work conditions and covers 29 CFR 1910.146 standards relating to:

• required permits

• ventilation of confined spaces

• alternate entry procedures

• use of gas monitoring equipment and identifying potential for dangerous situations

• duties and standards for personnel including rescue workers

• use of gas monitoring equipment

• alternative entry procedures

While the courses are popular with companies, CTS also had held several training classes, each attended by more than 30 employees of the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Coble Trench Safety typically provides competent person and confined space entry courses every four weeks at its branches and select outlying locations, with open enrollment for classes. The company also has begun scheduling routine OSHA 10 classes at some locations, again with open enrollment. All classes are offered on an as-needed basis at the branch location or a customer’s site, and attendees graduate not only with the required knowledge, but also with a workbook for future reference, a wallet card, and a certificate.

At present the company offers five courses at its older locations, each geared specifically to the markets the company serves. In addition to the two OSHA courses featured at the Knoxville branch, CTS provides instruction in flagger training and two further OSHA-related courses of either 10 or 30 hour duration at its other locations.

The 10-hour OSHA course gives instruction on hazards of various types in trenching, excavation and construction required permits, protective and life-saving equipment and two hours of elective topics designed to meet specific needs of individual companies.

The 30-hour course covers the same topics with the addition of ladder and stairway hazards and includes 12 hours of elective topics. CEG