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Alaska calls for increased focus on trench work safety

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Alaska Dept of Labor

Photo: Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Juneau, AK – In response to the death of a 23-year-old construction worker in a trenching incident in Anchorage, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development is highlighting the importance of training workers on safe trench work and excavations.

State regulations require employers to ensure workers are trained to recognize and avoid hazards related to any trench work or excavations in which the depth of the site is at least 4 feet. Employers also must make sure workers adequately enter and exit trenches, in addition to taking proper measures for shoring and sloping protection.

The Alaska Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers free consultations to help employers eliminate hazards and prevent workplace injuries and fatalities.

“We are investigating this incident and will take appropriate enforcement action, but Alaska cannot get to zero incidents through enforcement alone,” Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Heidi Drygas said in a press release. “We need strong commitments from all Alaskans and industry partners.”