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Trench collapse causes serious occupational injuries

Trench collapse incidents in Colorado and other states have been a much-discussed subject in recent months. However, despite raised awareness of the importance of safeguarding trenches, collapses continue to occur. Not many victims of these types of accidents survive, and if they do, occupational injuries may be severe. The life of a man in his 50s was recently saved in a marathon rescue effort after he was overwhelmed when the walls of a trench caved in. 

An Occupational Safety and Health Administration representative was present during the efforts of emergency workers to extricate the worker from the trench. A spokesperson for the fire and emergency services reported that first responders rushed to the scene at approximately 12:30 p.m. on a recent Wednesday. He continued to report the progress of the rescue on social media during the five hours following the alert.

Reportedly, the worker was in the trench to prepare the area for the installation of new pipes when the walls collapsed. It is unknown whether any precautions were taken to secure the walls of the excavation. Emergency workers apparently made sure that the man's head and face were clear of soil to allow him to breathe. They inserted an IV while he was still in the trench, and rescue workers even managed to hook him up to an EKG monitor while the rescue was underway.

After he was extricated, emergency workers rushed him to a hospital for treatment of serious occupational injuries. The medical bills and lost income caused by this incident may cause financial difficulties for the victim and his family. Fortunately, as in Colorado, this worker will be entitled to pursue financial relief through the workers' compensation insurance program of his state. He may file benefits claims that will likely provide coverage for the mentioned financial losses and expenses.

Source: wjla.com, "Worker rescued, after being trapped for hours in trench", Anna-Lysa Gayle, Nov. 16, 2016

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