June 2020 has been declared "Trench Safety Month" by the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA), further highlighting its innovative educational and safety program, the annual "Trench Safety Stand Down" week held this year between June 15-19.
"In this industry, the safety of our employees on the job site is our top priority," said Doug Carlson, NUCA CEO. "Making this June "Trench Safety Month" emphasizes the valuable training and experiences our members' employees are gaining through the Trench Safety Stand Down week held annually in June throughout our industry."
For the past four years in June, NUCA has held the Trench Safety Stand Down (TSSD) Week for the utility construction industry. This year's event will occur at hundreds of job sites across the nation, reaching tens of thousands of workers. TSSD Week is a series of organized events held by NUCA and industry professionals — both member and non-member organizations — to emphasize the message of safety around jobsite trenches and excavations. TSSD Week is used by industry safety professionals to hold safety training, educational seminars, live demonstrations of trench rescues and the other activities to reinforce the message of trench safety. Due to the enthusiastic success of NUCA's trench safety program, NUCA has decided to make June 2020 the first "Trench Safety Month." The association is devoting the entire month of June to getting the message out to the public and non-NUCA industry companies about the importance of employee safety when working underground or in and around trenches. In an effort to grow this strong message of safety, the national association will be leveraging the safety messages of TSSD through NUCA's social media channels, internal publications, and the construction trade press to emphasize several key safety ideas well known through our TSSD materials.
Selecting June as Trench Safety Month is a natural tie-in to the lessons and demonstrations being completed at thousands of NUCA member job sites during TSSD Week. In 2019, more than 47,000 industry employees and first responders at more than 4,500 job sites, from 324 organizations, took part in the stand down. Together, they learned the importance of being safe around jobsite excavations and trenches from peers and experts alike. NUCA and the utility construction industry members seek out every measure possible to reduce risks on job sites, which can be a dangerous place to work if someone is unaware of its hazards. Seventeen industry employees lost their lives through trench accidents in 2018, according to OSHA. Evidence shows that the key to significantly reducing the risks associated in the industry is employee training and reinforcement through events such as the TSSD Week.
This annual June event is expected to evolve over the following years as the TSSD continues to grow.