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Fatal workplace injury: 2 trench collapse deaths in 1 week

Trench collapses in Colorado and other states are usually preventable workplace accidents, and the number of lives lost in such incidents is unacceptable. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides clear guidelines regarding the steps to take to prevent workplace injury in a trench. Two workers lost their lives in trenching accidents in one week in a neighboring state.

The first fatality occurred when a 41-year-old worker was buried under soil when a 6-foot deep trench collapsed. The man was one of several workers who was digging a sewer line. A co-worker went in to try and help the one who was buried but had to be rescued himself because he became partially buried.

The second incident happened when a 20-year-old construction worker was working on the foundation of a home. A co-worker who was operating the backhoe stepped away to do something else. When he returned, he did not see the worker in the trench and realized the walls had collapsed. Despite performing CPR while waiting for first responders to arrive, the victim did not survive.

It was not reported whether these trenches were appropriately secured by trench boxes or any other safety precautions, and this will be determined by OSHA investigators. In the meantime, the surviving families of the workers who lost their lives in these tragic workplace accidents will have to deal with the high costs of funerals and burials. Following any fatal workplace injury in Colorado, death benefits may be filed with the workers' compensation insurance program for coverage of end-of-life expenses and lost wages.

Source: ksl.com, "20-year-old man killed in Saratoga Springs trench collapse", Carter Williams, Oct. 7, 2016

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