Whenever excavation takes place and workers are expected to enter trenches, employers have strict responsibilities to ensure the trenches are properly secured. Walls of excavated areas that are not secured can collapse — often leading to fatalities or serious workplace injury. An employee of an excavation company was fortunate to survive a recent trench collapse in Colorado Springs.
It is surprising that a company whose primary activities involve excavations will send workers into life-threatening conditions. Reportedly, firefighters were called to the scene and found the worker buried in a 15-foot deep trench without the protection of a trench box. Repairs to a sewer line were underway when the walls of the trench collapsed. Such an incident can bury a worker under thousands of pounds of soil and debris — often leading to suffocation.
Fortunately, the fire department was equipped with the necessary material to construct a trench box. This was put in the trench before the worker could be extricated. Reportedly, the man was trapped in the excavation for approximately 45 minutes before he was lifted up via a set of pulleys from a ladder truck. An investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been launched, and penalties will likely be proposed.
The severity of the worker’s injuries was not mentioned, but he will likely need medical care and may be unable to return to work for some time. Such an accident can cause havoc in the finances of any family. Assistance to help with medical expenses and lost wages after a workplace injury is available by filing benefits claims with the Colorado workers’ compensation insurance system.
Source: koaa.com, “CSFD rescues man from trench“, Sept. 14, 2016