Last month, a man was killed when a trench collapsed during a construction project in Virginia. According to a report from the Sheriff’s Office, the worker was digging a trench for a utility line when it collapsed and trapped the worker seven feet below ground. Despite the efforts of emergency crews, some of which were flown in by helicopter, the man was pronounced dead at the scene. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating the cause of the trench collapse.
Trenching and excavation are some of the riskiest types of construction operations. By OSHA standards, a trench is a man-made cut, trench, cavity or depression formed by ground removal. It is typically deeper than it is wide, usually no wider than 15 feet.
Unfortunately, cave-ins are the most dangerous hazard associated with trench and excavation projects and are more likely to result in death. Other hazards include:
Site managers and construction companies should make sure there are protective systems in place, such as sloping or shoring systems. Sloping involves cutting the trench wall back at an angle inclined away from the excavation. Shoring involves installing supports to prevent ground movement or cave-ins. Additionally, there are steps construction workers should take to protect themselves when working in or around a trench, including:
The Washington, D.C. workers’ compensation lawyers at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, LLP help those who are injured in a construction accident. We also have offices in Greenbelt, Maryland and Fairfax, Virginia. Call us today and speak to one of our attorneys.