OSHA recently cited an Illinois construction company after an employee was seriously injured in a trench collapse accident. The employee was buried up to his waste after an unprotected trench collapsed as he was working on a residential storm sewer deeper than 5 feet.
Despite being highly preventable, trench and excavation collapse accidents occur with regularity resulting in far too many incidents of workers being injured or even killed. All too often, in a rush to get the job done, safety takes a back seat and workers get hurt.
In fact, inspectors in the Illinois incident found that the company failed to follow required safety standards too – safety measures that could have prevented the trench collapse and the workers injuries.
- The accident investigation determined that the injured worker was not provided a safe means to exit and enter the trench, making it impossible to escape quickly at the first sign of trouble.
- Because there was not a trench box or other protective system in place, the walls of the trench caved in on the worker standing below.
- To make matters worse, excavated material was not placed at the required 2 feet or more distance from the site, thus contributing to the unstable conditions leading up to the collapse.
Trench and excavation collapses are among the deadliest accidents in the construction industry – several trench fatalities and many more injuries occur annually across the nation, including in Iowa.
Construction companies are required by OSHA to ensure that all trenching and excavation work is preformed taking the necessary precautions, following required safety rules. If you or a family member is injured in an excavation or trench collapse accident or other construction accident, contact the personal injury, workers’ compensation lawyers of Stoltze & Stoltze PLC for immediate assistance at 515-244-1473.