The National Utility Contractors Association Trench Safety Stand Down is June 19-23, 2023. It encourages employers to “STOP” and remind workers of the dangers of trench and excavations hazards – and the ongoing importance of protecting workers in trenches and excavations.
Being in the safety business, Roco Rescue is a strong supporter of NUCA’s efforts to protect workers in trenches. At Roco, our motto is “There’s a safe way, and there is a safer way.”
In the rescue world, “safe is safe.” It may not always be the most efficient way, but the rescuers will always be the top priority when we keep safety at the forefront of any rescue operation. At Roco, “There’s a safe way, and there is a safer way,” is much more than a catchy advertising slogan. We see it more as a Standard Operating Guideline.
If we take the slogan and break it down, it makes sense. “There’s a safe way” is the equivalent of saying, “My organization is meeting the standards that we are required to meet,” i.e., OSHA, NFPA, ANZI, etc. In the Roco world, “There is a safer way” says we will always do what is best for the safety of our people while still meeting the requirements of the applicable national standards.
Subtle difference? Not in our world. A safer way means we will routinely exceed national safety standards because it is safer for our employees when we do so. Even if it often costs more and always takes more time, we are committed to it. The June 19-23, 2023, NUCA Trench Safety Stand Down is another opportunity for Roco Rescue to show its commitment to safety.
“There is a safer way” says we will always do what is best for the safety of our people while still meeting the requirements of the applicable national standards.
As a rescue company, our job is to prevent trench incidents and prepare rescuers for the extremely dangerous conditions they might face in a trench collapse. Roco Rescue’s 3-Day Trench Rescue Technician Course is an excellent way to prepare for this type of emergency when lives hang in balance.
Our programs are conducted in live trenches dug specifically for the class. The trench is never the same and rarely stable. It creates some of the most realistic training conditions a rescuer will ever face. When you go back to work, you are prepared to rescue. What you might not be prepared for is the conversation that so often occurs when you get back to your industrial plant, your utility contractor, or your fire department. That conversation often centers around one subject, “We have trained rescuers, but are we capable of performing an actual rescue?”
OSHA is very clear about the need for trained, equipped, and readily available rescuers when we have employees working in Permit Required Confined Spaces. The private industry has for decades developed rescue programs to conform to this standard. OSHA 1926.650-652 Standard for Excavations does not require rescue capability unless there is a known or potential atmospheric hazard (i.e., the trench meets the definition of a confined space). Therefore, we must ask ourselves, have we confirmed that someone is coming to help if my employees get caught in a trench collapse?
We must ask ourselves, have we confirmed that someone is coming to help if my employees get caught in a trench collapse?
The upcoming NUCA Trench Stand Down reminds us to ask these questions. Does my local fire department have the capability to perform trench rescue? How long will it take them to get here? Do we need to explore starting a trench rescue program at our plant? If you already field a confined space rescue team, this may be the best option.
It’s a fact, every trench will eventually collapse if left to its own devices. Roco encourages everyone that works around open trenches and excavations to ask these questions about prevention and rescue. Our trench rescue professionals are available to answer any questions you might have.
If you’re concerned that your rescue service may not be adequately prepared, give us a call or check out these resources for more information on how to keep you and your personnel safe around trenches.
- Trench Safety & Rescue Articles: Read More
- Trench Training: Competent Person | Trench Rescue Technician
- The LEADER 2023 Winter Issue: Trench Safety & Excavations