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OSHA News Release
Region 5

Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.
Region 5 News Release: 06-1612-chi
Date: October 18, 2006
Contact: Brad Mitchell
Phone: (312)353-6976

U.S. Dept. of Labor's OSHA Forges Alliance with Columbus-Area Utility Safety Organization to Heighten Worker Protection

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Workers involved in trenching and excavation operations in the greater Columbus, Ohio, area can expect an intensified effort to keep them safe on the job thanks to an alliance formed by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Greater Columbus Damage Prevention Council (GCDPC).

"Injuries encountered during trenching operations continue to be among some of the top safety issues in the country," said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA's area director in Columbus. "The saddest part about these kinds of accidents is that they are entirely preventable. We believe that our new alliance will help get that safety message across to everyone involved."

The alliance will concentrate on reducing serious injuries resulting from cave-ins; electrocutions; fires; road work-zone hazards; and utility work, with a special focus on emergency preparedness and response activities related to restoring utility service quickly and safely following a major disaster.

Under the alliance, OSHA and the council will work together to develop and deliver training courses and materials on safe trenching for area employers and employees. They also will exchange resources and information to raise awareness and commitment to workplace safety and health. Information will be shared through participation in a variety of forums throughout Ohio.

The GCDPC was created to bring together underground facility operators; government agencies; excavators; industry associations; and service providers. As a group, these organizations try to reduce damages to underground facilities, provide cooperation and coordination of construction activities, and improve communications, involvement and commitment to meet these goals.

OSHA health and safety alliances are part of U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao's ongoing effort to improve health and safety for workers through cooperative partnerships.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit


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