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Construction Site Accidents: The Dangers of Working Around Trenches

Posted on in Workplace Injury

construction accident lawyerThe construction industry has been labeled one of the most dangerous industries to work in by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In fact, according to national statistics, at least two construction workers die from work-related injuries each day. While there are many different types of construction site accidents, one of the most dangerous is trench collapses.

Trench Collapses

Trenches are dug for a number of reasons on construction sites. Trenches are also used in the agricultural industry, as well as for installing utilities and pipelines. Employees who are working around and in trenches are at a high risk of becoming injured or killed in trench collapses, side-wall collapses, and cave-ins. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 25 workers are killed each year in trench accidents. The most frequent cause is cave-ins, which kill three out of every four victims. The other fatalities are caused by electrocutions and struck-by accidents.

Local Worker Killed

Fatal trench accidents can also occur from drowning, which happened in a recent tragic accident on a job site in Larimar County that resulted in the death of a 50-year-old worker.

According to details released by the Larimer County Coroner’s Office, there were four excavation company employees, including the victim, connecting domestic sewer pipe from a house under construction to the public sewer line. Although the workers were using a sump pump to remove water from the trench as they were working, water continued to flow in and eventually caused a partial collapse from the bottom of the trench. This caused the level of water to quickly rise, totally covering the victim.

Officials estimated the trench collapse to be approximately 25 deep by 30 feet wide at the top of the trench, but only about five feet wide at the bottom. The victim was pinned in the mud under all of the water that filled the trench.

Preventable Tragedies

The dangers associated with excavation and trench work are preventable. Despite that fact, worker injury and deaths from trench-related accidents continue to happen. A study conducted by OSHA found that the majority of trench collapses occur because they are not protected. The study revealed that only 25 percent of trenches have protective systems properly in place. In the remaining 75 percent, the system was either not used correctly, not being used, or there was no system available.

Contact a Larimar County Construction Site Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured in a trench collapse or have suffered the tragic loss of a loved one in a trench accident, contact the Hoggatt Law Office, P.C. to speak with one of our skilled Fort Collins workers’ compensation attorneys to find out what legal options you may have. Call 970-225-2190 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

 Sources:

https://www.ehstoday.com/construction/article/21916634/construction-accidents-the-risks-the-facts-and-the-repercussions-infographic

https://www.reporterherald.com/2021/04/19/larimer-county-coroner-releases-identity-of-man-killed-in-trench-collapse/

https://www.lhsfna.org/index.cfm/occupational-safety-and-health/trenches-and-excavations/

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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

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