NORTH ADAMS -- Thirteen municipal employees from North Adams, Hoosac Water Quality District and Monroe recently participated in a Competent Person Training for Excavation and Trenching, where they learned U.S. Occupa tional Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety standards and guidelines for water utility and construction projects.
Participants learned how to recognize and address hazardous situations, and studied the use of specific safety systems such as sloping, shoring and shielding. The full-day training, which included interactive breakout exercises and group discussions, was held Oct. 31 at Conte School and presented free of charge as a membership benefit by the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association, the towns’ property and casualty insurance provider. The New England Water Works Association presented the course in partnership with MIIA.
According to OSHA, excavation projects which include, "any man-made cut, cavity, trench or depression in an earth surface that is formed by earth removal," are among the most hazardous construction operations encountered by municipal employees.
In Massachusetts, the MA Department of Labor Standards (DLS) promotes and protects workers’ safety and health, wages and working conditions and follows OSHA standards. Among the standards for municipal excavation and trenching projects is the recommendation that a fully trained competent person be available to set safety measures and conduct daily inspections and soil analyses.