Among the deadliest hazards at construction sites are open trenches that can cave-in and trap unsuspecting workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has just published new guidelines to avoid this occupational hazard that kills two workers every month and has taken more than 200 lives in trench cave-ins since 2003.
A collapsing trench is an entirely preventable construction danger.
The employer is required to provide a safe workplace yet work sites often violate OSHA’s workplace standards which include:
- Since a cubic yard of soil is as heavy as a car, never enter an unprotected trench
- A protective trench system is required for any trench five feet or deeper
- OSHA rules require a daily inspection of trenches by a person capable of recognizing hazards
- Ladders, steps, ramps and some way to exit needs to be present in trenches 4 foot or deeper
- Anything with weight needs to be kept away from the trench edge including dirt, equipment
- Understand where underground utilities are located before creating the trench
- An unprotected trench must be sloped for stability
If you feel your workplace presents hazards, you can call a complaint into OSHA which will investigate the site. And if you are injured on the job and the workers’ compensation offered to cover your medical bills and lost wages is insufficient, you may need to discuss your concerns with the Jacksonville workers’ compensation lawyers at Farah & Farah who can serve as your ally and represent your interests. An insurance provider may try to shortcut your claim and assume you will not do anything about it, but we will. Call Farah & Farah at 1-800-533-3555 so we can get started by offering you a complimentary consultation on your job-related injury.
Source: http://osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=20796; http://osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/trench_excavation_fs.pdf