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Fatal workplace injury causes death of worker in trench collapse

Working in trenches is one of the most hazardous situations for employees in Colorado and elsewhere. Every trench is unique and unpredictable, and if proper safety precautions are not taken it can become deadly for workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has very strict regulations related to trenches, including one that requires any trench deeper than 5 feet to be secured in prescribed ways. A trench collapse can cause a fatal workplace injury.

An OSHA investigation was launched following a trench collapse that claimed the life of a 49-year-old worker in another state. Reportedly, the incident occurred at the site of a residential development where new sewer lines were being installed. Emergency workers were summoned to the scene on a recent Monday afternoon after workers made a call to 911.

It was determined that no protection was used in the 15-foot deep trench. The worker lost his life when the trench walls collapsed, burying him under tons of soil. OSHA safety standards prescribe various methods to prevent collapses, one of which is a four-sided steel trench box that can save the lives of workers. Alarmingly, it was reported that, although a trench box was available, it was not used on this occasion.

Sadly, this worker's death was preventable by compliance with safety regulations. Any Colorado family who has to cope with the death of a loved one who suffered a fatal workplace injury may pursue death benefits through the workers' compensation insurance system. Along with compensation to cover the cost of a funeral and burial, the insurance program typically also provides a percentage of lost wages.

Source: yourhoustonnews.com, "OSHA launches investigation after worker killed in trench collapse near Pearland", Kristi Nix, Aug. 11, 2016

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