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Preventing trench accidents focus of a new 'safety alliance'

Dave Thompson
Prairie Public

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says on average, two workers are killed each month in trench collapses.

Now, OSHA, the North Dakota Safety Council and other state organizations have signed on to an official Safety Alliance, with the goal of preventing trenching related accidents.

"They said, 'Why wait until something happens?'" said Safety Council executive director Chuck Claremont. "Let's be more active to prevent these things."

Claremont said if the awareness is there, and people are getting the training, the statistics should go down.

Safety Council consultant Dustan Austin worked with the Mon-Dak safety alliance for 15 years before joining the Council.

"We have a lot of people coming here from out-of-state," Austin said. "There's a lot of trenching and excavating activity going on."

Austin said the challenge is to try to get ahead of the problems.

"That, instead of responding to injuries and deaths right now, let's prevent those deaths and injuries in the future," Austin said.