One of the most dangerous accidents in construction is a trench collapse. If there are no specific safeguards in place, trench collapse or other accidents can result in workers being buried alive by dirt and other debris. Based on information from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 250 workers died during excavation and trenching cave-ins from the year 2000 through 2006.
Deadly Accidents That Can Occur on Construction Sites
Most of the time, the risks and hazards of excavation and trenching work is minimized through proper prevention. However, hundreds die every year in accidents due to taking shortcuts or lack of safety in place. Many deaths occur when the trench collapses, which can occur very quickly. Workers often have no warning so they can move out of the trench. Once caught in an accident, a worker can die because of trauma or asphyxiation.
Federal law requires contractors to have a protective system around an excavation of five feet or deeper. This means that the ground must be sloped with the trench shored using shielding or planking. Workers should never be forced into a trench without safety features in place. However, if the system is improperly designed, accidents can still occur.
Many trench accidents are a result of the following things:
- Excavated soil being placed too close to the trench
- Having no protective system in place in the trench
- Not analyzing the soil properly for potential cave-ins
- Not providing safe access into and out of the trench
- Lengthening time of excavation beyond what is required
- Not inspecting the trench regularly, especially after rainstorms
It’s believed that most of the trenching accidents that occur are at companies that do not use proper procedures or put in place the right safety equipment. There is often a lack of training at smaller companies where more accidents occur, meaning these workers are at a greater risk of injury.
Fault in Trench Accident Situations
The best way to determine whether you deserve compensation after a trench or excavation accident is by speaking with a qualified personal injury attorney at Barovick Law. These professionals understand what happens on construction sites and will have experience litigating cases like these. In most cases, an investigator will be used to visit the scene and gather information needed to strengthen your case. This is the best first step to take after any workplace accident.