Construction jobsites can be extremely chaotic places, with many different groups of workers present at one time. With so much constantly happening, accidents are an all-too-common occurrence. The industry is heavily regulated in an effort to prevent these accidents and improve safety for everyone present.
Unfortunately, when a construction accident occurs, it can often lead to extremely serious injuries. In many new projects, it may be necessary to prepare the area for the incoming building or roadway. Often, when installing items such as utilities, workers may need to dig trenches to allow them to complete essential work below ground.
Trenching is a particularly dangerous part of any construction project. These trenches may have a small brace present, in order to prevent the ground from suddenly shifting. However, this may not be enough to keep a collapse from trapping workers underground. This can result in workers being suffocated before they can be removed.
According to OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, two people are killed each month in trenching accidents across the U.S. Injuries may result from a sudden collapse, a worker falling into an open trench or from being hit by excavating equipment.
Several factors may impact potential accidents. Workers will need to examine the soil where they plan to dig to check for any hazardous or toxic gases that may be present. Additionally, the area surrounding the worksite must be extensively studied to determine if any conditions are present that may cause a sudden collapse.
Workers’ compensation may be available to those who are injured in construction accidents. It is important to report any injuries as soon as they occur in order to get the process started as soon as possible. Waiting too long may limit the options that are available for your situation.
Source: OSHA Fact Sheet, “Trenching and Excavation Safety“