OhioBWC - Basics: (Policy library) - File


Policy Name:

Trench Safety Grant (TSG) Program

Policy #:


Code/Rule Reference

ORC 4121.37 and OAC 4123-17-56.

Effective Date:

February 1, 2020


Division of Safety & Hygiene (DSH)




New policy issued January 29, 2020.

Review Date:

December 1, 2024



I.      Policy Purpose


BWC created the Trench Safety Grant (TSG) Program as part of BWC’s Safety Intervention Grants Program. BWC uses the TSG Program to partner with Ohio employers to substantially reduce or eliminate injuries associated with trenching operations. The TSG does not fund equipment used for technical rescue operations.  A maximum of $12,000 is available for each eligible employer to assist in the purchase of devices to prevent soil movement and cave-ins.


II.    Applicability


This policy applies to BWC Division of Safety & Hygiene (DSH), employers, and their authorized representatives.


III.   Definitions

A.    Fast track grants: Applications for specific equipment where there is high risk for injuries and illnesses, and the specific equipment is likely to have a significant impact on eliminating future injuries and illnesses.

B.    Post-intervention report and assessment: A review of the worksite and newly purchased and implemented equipment using a checklist to observe and evaluate the area or task where the equipment is used.

C.   Pre-intervention report and assessment: A review of the worksite prior to implementation of the grant purchased equipment using a checklist to observe and evaluate the area or task where the equipment will be used.

D.   Retroactive purchases: Equipment purchased prior to the receipt of the approval from BWC for the safety intervention grant.

E.    Competent Person:  A person who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.  The competent person is responsible for conducting trench inspections daily, and as conditions change, prior to worker entry.

F.    Employee Trench Safety Training:  Safety training provided after February 1, 2020, to each employee who works in and around trenches. This training must include the following topics, as a minimum:

1.    Trenching and excavating hazards;

2.    Role of the competent person, including soil identification; and

3.    Use of protective systems, including

a.    Safe slopes for different soil types and conditions,

b.    Shoring, and

c.     Shielding.

Free training materials are available at the www.trenchsafetyohio.com website.

IV.  Policy

A.    Unless otherwise specified in this policy, all application requirements, eligibility, participation criteria, reporting, and procedures stated in the Safety Intervention Grants Program policy apply to the applicants and participants of the TSG Program. This policy sets forth the unique components of the TSG Program.

B.    Eligibility criteria.

1.    The employer must perform work in trenches.  The employer must provide information on the application clearly describing their trench work.  This grant does not fund equipment purchased for technical rescue operations.

2.    Eligible employers include: contractors, municipalities, utility providers, and other employers who perform work in trenches.

3.    The maximum lifetime total grant amount an employer can receive is $12,000. The employer may only use grant funds to purchase equipment described in this policy.

4.    Equipment purchases have a four-to-one matching grant requirement. This means BWC provides $4 for every $1 the employer contributes.

5.    Employers participating in the Safety Intervention Grant Program are eligible to apply as follows:

a.    Employers may apply for the TSG Program even if they have received up to the $40,000 maximum grant in their current Safety Intervention Grants eligibility cycle.

b.    Employers who are in the Safety Intervention Grants Program must be up to date on all required documentation and reports to be eligible for the TSG Program.

6.    BWC reserves the right to visit the employer based on the information provided in the application and complete:

a.    A pre-intervention assessment before approval of the application, or

b.    A post-Intervention assessment after the approval of the grant application and purchase of the approved equipment.

7.    The employer is not required to:

a.    Demonstrate the need for a safety intervention by describing the significance of the problem and the effectiveness of the proposed solution; or

b.    Provide two years of baseline data.

C.   Pre-application steps.

1.    The employer must access BWC’s web site and download, complete, and submit the Application for Trench Safety Grant (SH-57).

2.    The employer must provide BWC with the following information:

a.    Description of organization.

b.    Type and quantity of relevant trenching or excavating work performed in previous 12 months.

c.     The number of employees involved in trenching or excavating work.

d.    The current methods used for trenching or excavating safety; i.e., trench box, hydraulic shoring, benching/sloping, contract the work out, or other.

3.    The employer must obtain detailed price quote(s) from the equipment vendor. A quote must be specifically for the employer applying for the grant and must list all items to be purchased. The price quote(s) must include a contact name and contact phone number from the equipment vendor. BWC recommends obtaining quote(s) valid for one hundred twenty (120) days or longer.

4.    The employer is not required to contact the local BWC customer service office to schedule an assessment by a BWC safety consultant.

D.   Application requirements.

1.    The employer may only apply, and use grant funds, to purchase established shoring or shielding devices that have manufacturer tabulated data approved by a registered professional engineer governing their use.  There are no quantity limitations to these items.  Established uses include:

a.    Shoring:  aluminum, hydraulic, or other types of supports to prevent soil movement and cave-ins.

b.    Shielding:  trench boxes or other types of supports to protect against soil cave-ins.

2.    BWC will not approve a TSG Program application for any equipment not listed in section IV.D.1. above, including other systems designed by a professional engineer that were made or created by the employer.

3.    The employer must submit the completed application in writing to BWC.

4.    Section V (Budget) and Section VI (Agreement) of the application require the signature of an employee who has fiduciary responsibility for the employer.

5.    The employer will have the responsibility to ensure the employer’s TSG Program obligations are fulfilled to:

a.    Purchase and implement the equipment;

b.    Provide receipt documentation to BWC within one hundred twenty (120) days of the date of the grant award;

c.     Provide trench safety training as defined in section III.F of this policy to all workers engaged in trenching operations and provide documentation that all current employees were trained within one hundred twenty (120) days of the date of the grant award; and

d.    Identify the trained competent persons(s) and provide documentation of these individuals within one hundred twenty (120) days of the date of the grant award.

6.    Applications must be submitted no later than March 31, 2020, unless the program is otherwise extended.

E.    BWC evaluation of application.

1.    BWC will consider the employer’s application complete if the following items are received:

a.    The completed application;

b.    The Statement of Agreement with original signatures; and

c.     The Budget page with original signatures and corresponding vendor quotes.

2.    The TSG Program grants are considered Fast Track grants and are reviewed by a member of the Review Committee who recommends either approval or denial of the application to the Superintendent of DSH based upon the completeness and accuracy of the application and supporting materials.

F.    Operation of program.

The employer shall:

1.    Complete purchase of approved equipment within ninety (90) days of receipt of the approval letter and submit receipts of purchase within one hundred twenty (120) days.

2.    Provide employee trench safety training as defined in section III.F of this policy to all workers engaged in trenching operations and provide documentation of individuals trained within one hundred twenty (120) days of the date of the grant award.  A copy of training materials that can be used to meet this requirement is available on the website www.trenchsafetyohio.com.

3.    Identify and evaluate a trained competent person and provide documentation of this within one hundred twenty (120) days of the date of the grant award.  The mandatory form required for this evaluation is available on the website www.trenchsafetyohio.com and is included in the application packet.

4.    The employer is not required to submit a case study to BWC one year after the implementation of the equipment.

5.    BWC reserves the right to visit an employer worksite to review overall safety processes and procedures, including observation of the purchased trench protection equipment.

6.    There are no life expectancy requirements for the equipment purchased.

7.    BWC will not approve, and the employer may not use, grant funds for purchases made prior to approval of the TSG.

8.    If an employer does not timely cooperate with correction of deficiencies in grant conditions upon notification by BWC, the grant funds shall be returned to the BWC.

G.   Scenarios.

1.    An employer received a Safety Intervention Grant in the amount of $12,000 to purchase a portable scissor lift to assist maintenance tasks. The grant check was dated five months prior to a TSG Program application to purchase a trench box.  The employer has not provided BWC the required receipt documentation for the Safety Intervention Grant Program.

Response: An employer participating in the Safety Intervention Grants Program must be current on all receipt documentation and reporting to be eligible for the TSG Program. This employer is eligible to apply for the TSG Program after they submit the required documentation for their previous Safety Intervention Grant.

2.    An employer applies to TSG Program to purchase trench shoring equipment with a cost of $5000.  Two months after receiving the grant, the employer applies for a trench box with a cost of $12,000.   What are the matching amounts, and can the employer submit a third grant for other items on the list?

Response: If the total cost of the shoring is $5,000, the 4 to 1 employer match for this grant means that the BWC will provide $4000 of funding and the employer will be responsible for $1000.  This leaves $8000 of available grant funding for the trench box.  Although the 4-1 match the $12,000 trench box would be 9,600, the employer has already used $4000 of the grant funding available.  This leaves $8000 of available grant funding for the trench box, and the employer would pay the remainder ($4000).  There are no more eligible funds for this employer under the TSG Program.