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Preventing trench and excavation accidents

Californians who work in trenches or excavations face a high risk of being injured. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, two workers were killed every month in 2011 as a result of trench collapses. Unfortunately, this statistic that has not improved since that time. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the number of deaths caused by trenches or excavations in 2016 nearly twice the average of the previous five years.

This is why OSHA has proclaimed that lowering the number of excavation and trenching accidents is a priority for 2018. The agency intends to spread awareness of the dangers trenching poses to construction workers. It also wants reduce the occurrences of trench collapses and educate workers and employers on how cave-ins can be safely prevented.

One construction industry professional attributes the rise of deaths to a variety of factors, including laziness, lack of knowledge about safety regulations, no supervision and a focus on money and time. Various employee safety agencies believe that the deaths are also a result of the subpar enforcement and inspections conducted by state and federal agencies.

According to OSHA, an excavation is a trench, cut, depression or cavity in the surface of the earth that was made by man by removing part of the earth. A trench is a narrow underground excavation with a width that is no longer than its depth and that does not exceed 15 feet. While both trenches and excavations present dangers to workers, trenches are considered riskier as they have confined spaces and steep walls.

An attorney who practices personal injury law may assist injured workers who want to filed for workers' compensation benefits. If benefits are denied, an attorney can help with the appeals process.

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