The National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) is encouraging all municipalities and contractors who work in excavations to participate in a nationwide Safety Stand Down during the week of June 19, 2017. In case you’ve never facilitated or participated in a “Safety Stand Down” they are basically a scheduled meeting with all employees about a specific topic of interest. Although it may sound a lot like a standard “Toolbox Talk” they are a little different in a few ways. First, they are usually endorsed by a recognized entity (like NUCA). Second, they typically involve multiple companies and are usually held over a large geographical area (in this case it’s nationwide). They are also heavily advertised in advance in order to make the event more meaningful.
The obvious reason for holding a Stand Down is to raise awareness about an ongoing problem. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the fatality rate in the US for excavation work is 112% higher than in general construction! Although OSHA has partnered with NIOSH since 2012 to encourage nationwide Stand Downs on Fall Protection, this is the first Stand Down of this magnitude for Excavation Safety. If you would like to learn more about this event or access materials you can use, please click here.