It’s spring. The flowers are blooming, the cicadas are coming and peoples’ water lines and roofs need repair.

And to repair water lines, workers have to dig deep trenches. Which brings me to my annual reminder that there are workers at risk around every corner. OSHA can’t be everywhere all the time, so sometimes it’s up to you to save them. (In fact, it would take Maryland OSHA 151 years to inspect every workplace in the state just once.)

For example….I was walking the dog late yesterday afternoon and came across not one, but two 8-10 foot deep unprotected trenches in a neighbor’s front yard. No one was home, and no workers were on site. So I emailed Maryland OSHA, gave them the address and described the situation. When I drove by this morning around 11, the MOSH inspector was on site. He had already pulled the workers out of the trench, asked them to call their supervisor and started writing up violations.

Those of you who are faithful readers of Confined Space know this is not a rare occurrence for me. Construction contractors in my neighborhood seem obsessed with putting workers in deep, unprotected trenches, on top of roofs without fall protection, and in clouds of silica dust from sawing concrete — despite the fact they have been warned to behave themselves around here.

But, of course, I’m not the only one who lives in neighborhood where small construction jobs mean big hazards for workers. Which is why about seven years ago, I wrote this handy “Workplace Safety: Do It Yourself Edition” that provides step-by-step instructions for addressing workplace hazards you run across in your neighborhood.

Check it out. Then get out there and save some lives.

The Next Day….

Trench shields. Now was that so hard?


The Following Day (in Baltimore)

Three guys up on a 2 story house, no fall protection. It never ends….

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