OSHA urging employers to slope, shore, and shield trenches to protect workers in New Jersey

July 7, 2022

HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ–Following the June 30 incident that occurred when a worker fell into a trench and it collapsed on him at a house construction site in Howell, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is reminding all New Jersey employers to take the necessary steps to protect workers from trench-related fatalities and accidents. The Howell trench was 40 inches x 40 inches, approximately seven-and-a-half-feet-deep, located in the rear of the basement wall of the house.

“A trench can quickly become an early grave if the proper protection is not utilized.” said OSHA Area Director Paula Dixon-Roderick in Marlton, New Jersey. “Friday’s rescue should be a strong reminder for employers to take the proper precautions. OSHAs message to employers is simple: Slope it, Shore it, and Shield it.”

In 2020-2021, OSHA documented 20 deaths and injuries related to trenching and excavation. The leading cause for these fatalities was inadequate cave-in protection. These tragic worker deaths have long-lasting impacts on the workers’ families, co-workers, and communities.

Just 7 days prior there was another trench rescue in Hamilton Township Mercer County:

Photos from the Hamilton Township Trench Rescue on June 23, 2022