COLUMBUS — The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) announced a new $2 million safety grant program today to assist employers in purchasing equipment to protect their workers while working in trenching and excavating situations.
BWC’s Trench Safety Grant program provides 4-to-1 matching funds, up to $12,000, to Ohio private and public employers covered by the State Insurance Fund who wish to purchase equipment to substantially reduce or eliminate injuries and illnesses associated with trenching and excavation.
“This type of work poses some of the most severe and deadly hazards in the construction industry,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud. “But we know the injuries and fatalities associated with trenching are preventable with proper training and equipment, and that’s why we’re launching this grant program.”
In 2019, two Ohio workers died in separate trench collapses reported to BWC just days apart. In April, a worker in Marysville was killed while repairing a water line; two days before that a worker died when he was buried in a trench collapse at a construction site for a housing development near Dayton.
The grant funds can assist employers in purchasing trenching safety equipment, such as trench boxes and hydraulic shoring. Along with the grant, BWC will provide training and educational materials for employers to share with their employees on basic requirements of trench safety.
In addition to the grants, BWC has launched a website, trenchsafetyohio.com, that includes links to trenching safety information and tips, training, and publications. Employers also can schedule no-cost consultation services with BWC’s Division of Safety & Hygiene staff.
Employers interested in a grant, can visit BWC’s Trench Safety Grant webpage to learn more about the program and to download a fillable PDF version of the application. Questions or inquiries can be submitted via the BWC Division of Safety & Hygiene’s Safety Intervention Grant email box.