A worker in Inlay City recently died during a trench collapse while a condo complex was under construction. The Inlay City fire department responded to the accident and removed the worker when he was pronounced dead on the scene. An excavator was working in the area when the accident occurred. Investigators have not commented on what the worker was doing at the time of the trench cave-in. Investigators remained at the scene of the accident for several hours after the collapse occurred.
Trenching is one of the most hazardous activities in the construction industry. Statistics compiled by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that approximately 35 construction workers each year are killed as a result of trench collapses. One of the deadly aspects of trench collapses is that soil pile-ups can quickly gather weight and become deadly. One cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a small motor vehicle, but trench collapses often involve a much greater amount of force. For the lucky individuals who survive these accidents, the resulting injuries can be severe.
Required Trench Protection Systems
Any trench that is five feet or deep needs adequate protection systems to protect the lives of workers in case cave-ins occur. Safety measures most often include:
- This process involves installing sheeting or wall supports at regular lengths inside a trench.
- This technique involves implementing boxes or cages for workers who perform functions within the trench.
- This safety method involves angling a trench wall at a sufficient angle to prevent collapses.
There are many variables involved when deciding on the best method to protect workers who perform functions within a trench. For example, some methods are only available in certain types of soil.
Besides soil composition, other factors including the presence of nearby machinery and weather conditions can influence what type of protection system is best to implement. While it is sometimes easy to overlook these precautions, protective systems are either inadequate or not present at all. Regularly inspecting the trench is also important in case any changes in the soil conditions occur.
Make Sure You Maintain Safe Practices While Trench Working
There are some helpful techniques that trench workers can follow to stay safe, which include:
- Keeping equipment and materials at least two feet from trench edges
- Never entering an unprotected trench
- Never working below suspended loads
- Not entering a trench that has not been inspected recently
- Not immediately exiting trenches if dangerous conditions are noticed
- Performing trench work before all underground utilities are identified
Injured at Work? Contact Us Today
Trench collapses are just one of the many hazards that workers face while on the job. No matter the cause, workplace accidents can occur suddenly and leave Michigan workers facing serious challenges. If you are injured in a workplace accident, you should not hesitate to speak with a our Clare, MI workers compensation lawyers for a free consultation.
Contact Jay Trucks & Associates today. Ph: (800) 762-8623.