The thought of being buried alive is frightening. The reality may be worse. Getting hit by just two cubic yards of dirt collapsing into a six-foot deep trench has the same impact as being struck by a pickup truck moving at 45 miles per hour.
Tragically, trench collapse accidents injure or kill hundreds of workers every year. And the problem is getting worse. More people were killed in 2016 (23) than 2014 and 2015 combined (11 each), according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).
It’s no wonder that OSHA ranks trenching as one of the most dangerous construction jobs. Trenches are hazardous because, by definition, they are deeper than they are wide and susceptible to collapse. The narrow passages are necessary at many worksites due to space limitations.
Keeping Trenches Safe
While it’s the job of everyone – from the construction company to site managers to laborers – to ensure safety, OSHA requires a designated person evaluate the safety of trenches on a daily basis.
OSHA also recommends:
- Workers at sites near roadways wear high-visibility vests.
- Barriers be in place to block vehicles, equipment, construction materials and tools from the trench.
- Ground vibration caused by traffic, including nearby railways, be monitored because it can destabilize a trench.
- The evaluation of soil stability if it has been disturbed by nearby structures and underground utility lines.
- Drainage measures to protect trenches from the effects of groundwater.
- Trench safety training for all employees.
When Safety Fails, Seek Legal Help
Safety regulations can do only so much to protect workers. Companies with lax rules, workers rushing to meet a deadline and other factors can contribute to trench accidents.
If you’ve been injured in a trench accident, you may be facing a long recovery period from serious injuries. That means you are out of work, unable to support your family and pay your bills – adding to your stress is trying to pursue a legal claim.
An insurance company, aware that you are desperate for money, will tempt you with a lowball financial settlement that comes nowhere near compensating you for current and future expenses.
The workers’ compensation attorneys at Hochman & Plunkett Co., L.P.A, have more than 150 years of combined experience fighting for the rights of their clients in southwestern Ohio. With offices in Dayton, Cincinnati, Springfield and Troy, we have been handling cases like yours since 1969. We will pursue every legal avenue to secure fair financial compensation for you and your family. Contact us today for a free case consultation.