Trenching Deaths Double Since Last Year

The good news is that trenching injuries are down since last year. The bad news is that deaths in trenching accidents are up. They’ve gone up quite a bit actually; they’ve doubled.

Trench deaths have more than doubled nationwide since last year – an alarming and unacceptable trend that must be halted,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. “There is no excuse. These fatalities are completely preventable by complying with OSHA standards that every construction contractor should know.


It starts with education. Check out our five-part series here:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

90% of Eye Injuries are Preventable

NIOSH reports about 2,000 U.S. workers sustain job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment each DAY. That’s more than every person in Seattle each year sustaining an eye injury! However, safety experts and eye doctors believe the right eye protection could have lessened the severity or even prevented 90% of these eye injuries.


Simply using the proper eye protection on the job could prevent thousands of eye injuries each year.

Common eye injuries occurring at work can result from chemicals or foreign objects in the eye and cuts or scrapes on the cornea. Other causes of injuries include splashes with grease and oil, burns from steam, ultraviolet or infrared radiation exposure, and flying wood or metal chips.

Two major reasons workers experience eye injuries on the job are because they were:

  • Not wearing eye protection, or
  • Wearing the wrong kind of protection for the job.

A Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey of workers who suffered eye injuries revealed that nearly three out of five were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident. These workers most often reported that they believed protection was not required for the situation.

OSHA requires the use of eye and face protection whenever there is a reasonable probability of injury that could be prevented by such equipment. Personal protective eyewear, such as goggles, face shields, safety glasses, or full face respirators must be used when an eye hazard exists. The eye protection chosen for specific work situations depends upon the type of hazard, the circumstances of exposure, other protective equipment used, and individual vision needs.

(Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Al Rainsberger, CHMM for Foss Maritime)

Eye Injuries in the Workplace

One of the most common injuries in the workplace is also one that can very easily be reduced. We’re talking about eye injuries.

Did you know that there are over 20,000 recorded eye injuries each year? And that’s not counting all the injuries that go unreported. It is estimated that eye injuries alone account for almost $300 million each year in medical costs, workman’s comp and lost time.

The simple fact is  that safety eyewear can reduce these injuries by up to 90%. That’s substantial!


A quick assessment of you workplace will let you know if safety glasses or goggles are needed. Are there particles in the air (sawdust, for example)? Is there any debris? Are there chemicals present that might constitute a splash hazard? Is there grinding, welding, sawing, hammering, etc… happening?

There are so many options and styles available today that there really isn’t a good reason not to protect your eyes while working.