OSHA highlighted a June 28 incident as an impetus for its decision. In Jarrell, Texas, two workers, aged 20 and 39, died when the 20-foot trench they worked in collapsed on them. Shields to reinforce their trench could have saved their lives. They sat unused beside the excavation, OSHA said.
“In a matter of seconds, workers can be crushed and buried under thousands of pounds of soil and rocks in an unsafe trench. The alarming increase in the number of workers needlessly dying and suffering serious injuries in trenching incidents must be stopped,” said Doug Parker, assistant secretary for Occupational Safety and Health.