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OSHA was responding to a question from a contractor who asked if he could remove ladders during trenching activities under a specified scenario. The company said in some cases, having a ladder in a trench box makes it difficult to provide employees with enough room to work safely while installing underground pipelines. The company asked OSHA if the ladder could be removed once employees used it to enter the trench box and kept near the exit point just outside the box, then two safety-trained workers would remain outside the exit point to lower the ladder in the event of an emergency ore when workers need to leave the trench. It was stressed that the two workers outside would be in constant communications with the workers inside the trench until the ladder was removed.
OSHA answered that this scenario would not constitute a safe egress and would not comply with federal law. The agency added that the complexity of such a system would make it inherently more susceptible to failure than a simple requirement to have a ladder or similar means of exit in place in the trench.
U.S. construction machinery exports down in 2009
U.S. construction machinery exports dropped 36 percent during the first half of 2009, with $6.4 billion shipped to global markets compared to $10.1 billion at mid-year 2008, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).
The AEM off-road equipment manufacturing trade group consolidates U.S. Commerce Dept. data with other sources into global trend reports for members.
All world regions recorded double-digit declines in construction equipment exports for the first half of 2009, led by Europe and Canada.
- Exports declined 53 percent to Europe for a total $777 million, and dropped 45 percent to Canada for a total $1.8 billion.
- Exports to Asia decreased 30 percent to $939 million.
- Exports to Central America dropped 21 percent to $662 million, with a lesser decline to South America - minus 14 percent for a total $1.2 billion.
- Australia/Oceania’s export purchases decreased 42 percent to $497 million, while Africa took delivery of $528 million worth of construction equipment, a 24-percent drop.
“U.S. exports of construction equipment began to erode in third quarter 2008 with the worsening global recession. We’re an export-intensive industry and the continuing decline is especially detrimental since we’re also experiencing steep cuts in domestic business,” said Al Cervero, AEM senior vice president.