Trench Safety Stand Down (TSSD) Week was held across the nation by the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA), and as part of that event the association's Middle Tennessee Chapter held its first TSSD Week Contest.
The contest was motivation for local companies to participate in this innovative educational opportunity that teaches thousands of construction industry employees the simple message, "be safe around trenches."
The winner of the Middle Tennessee Chapter's 2020 TSSD Week Contest is Civil Constructors LLC. Their special Toolbox Talk events were held across 27 job sites June 16 to 19 and had 237 employees attend.
Civil Constructors LLC will be receiving lunch sponsored by Tennessee 811 and United Rentals Trench Safety.
Every June for the past four years, NUCA has helped sponsor the innovative TSSD Week for the U.S. utility construction industry and the Middle Tennessee Chapter has participated since its founding in 2018. This year, more than 60 job sites in Middle Tennessee held special TSSD Week Toolbox Talks, reaching more than 450 local industry employees.
"Trench safety is the biggest threat we face as ditch diggers and excavators. Having an event like TSSD is incredibly important because it helps make everyone aware of simple steps that can prevent deadly accidents. It is wonderful to see so many participate in TSSD in an effort to keep themselves, co-workers, and the public safe.
"We'd like to thank U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn for her support of our effort to better our industry. Since 2018 NUCA of Middle TN has participated in TSSD with the full support of TOSHA. Hundreds of Tennessee workers have been trained and made aware of the hazards of working in and around trenches. As we continue to grow this event we thank everyone who participated; there is safety in numbers. The more ditch diggers we can train and make aware of these precautions, the stronger our industry will grow," said Matt Mingus of Team Construction LLC, President of NUCA of Middle Tennessee.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic many events this year took place virtually. In addition to events offered by local chapters and NUCA National, United Rentals organized an impressive slate of seven educational events that included motivational safety speakers, a panel discussion and webinars on multiple topics related to trench safety.
NUCA of Middle Tennessee also did a special episode of its weekly, "We Dig Tennessee," podcast, which can be found online at nucamidtn.transistor.fm/.
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 other activities to reinforce the important message of trench safety.
Due to the enthusiastic success of NUCA's TSSD Week and its trench safety program, NUCA 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.
"While the industry fatal accident rate has been more than halved since 2016, we feel strongly that there is more we all can do as an industry to prevent the needless loss of life. The mission to save lives and prevent accidents remains the vital reason why this annual stand down is so important," said Doug Carlson, NUCA CEO.
For more information about NUCA of Middle Tennessee and how to join, visit www.nuca.com/midten.