After Alarmingly Deadly Year, Trench Safety Stand Down Set for June 19-23

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Updated Jun 16, 2023
flyer Trench Safety Month National Utility Contractors Association
June is Trench Safety Month, and the Trench Safety Stand Down will be June 19-23.
National Utility Contractors Association

Editors' Note: This article was updated June 16, 2023, to provide details on free online educational sessions on trench safety by United Rentals.

As we head into another Trench Safety Month and next week’s Trench Safety Stand Down, the construction industry is coming off the deadliest year in trenching and excavation in 18 years.

In 2022, 39 people died while working in trenches or excavations, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. That’s more than double 2021’s number of deaths, and the most since 2005, when 39 construction workers died in trench collapses, according to data from the 2019 CPWR study "Recent Trenching Fatalities: Causes and Ways to Reduce"; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; and OSHA.

The National Utility Contractors Association, which declared June as Trench Safety Month and organizes the Trench Safety Stand Down week, is well aware of the alarming fatality statistics. For that reason it is urging participation within the construction industry in the series of events and activities planned June 19-23 as part of the Stand Down.

“These accidents can be avoided with thorough training in excavation safety procedures and techniques,” NUCA says. It adds that with the $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure law signed in 2021, more workers will be in trenches and excavations as more projects start.

“Our industry is seeking tens of thousands of new employees to work on these projects — and every one of them will need safety training,” the association says. “Time and time again, evidence shows that the key to significantly reducing the risks associated with our industry is employee training and reinforcement through safety events such as the TSSD Week.”

The Stand Down

More than 22,500 industry employees and first responders at over 1,900 jobsites, from 345 organizations, took part in last year’s Stand Down, NUCA reports.

The week’s events involve safety training, seminars, live demonstrations of trench rescues and other activities to improve trench safety. The events will occur at hundreds of jobsites around the country.

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NUCA also plans to devote the entire month to spreading the message of safety in and around trenches. It is partnering with the Trenching Excavation Safety Taskforce to promote safety awareness and training programs.

This year’s Stand Down is sponsored by NUCA national partners United Rentals and Sunstate Equipment Co. For more details on the Stand Down and how your company or organization can participate, go to You can also follow updates at #TrenchSafetyMonth.

{Related content: How to Prevent Death from Trench Collapse}

Online education

United Rentals will hold an online series of free trench safety educational sessions as part of the Stand Down.

Anyone can attend the sessions. To register, go to the United Rentals Trench Safety events webpage. The training sessions are as follows:

  • Rethinking Trench Safety, June 20, 8 to 9 a.m. EDT and 3 to 4 p.m. EDT – Experts will discuss how inaccuracies regarding trench safety have come about, and what the reality is.
  • A Safe Approach to Underground Utility Obstructions, June 22, 8 to 9 a.m. EDT and 3 to 4 p.m. EDT – An overview of regulations and approaches to protect workers and underground installations when digging near existing utilities. Experts will explore protective systems that can help maintain productivity and safety when exposing, protecting and working around utilities in an excavation.