Cave-ins are one of the most serious dangers confronted by the trench workers.
All types of construction jobs involve some amount of risk. Among them, trenching and excavation work are considered to be more risky than the others. In this article, we will discuss the various dangers associated with trenching and excavation work.
In recent years, 271 workers have died due to trench cave-ins and excavation accidents. Many of these accidents occurred in small companies where only a few workers were involved in the task. Moreover, most of the accidents could have been avoided. In addition, records show that at least 2 workers die every month due to cave-ins.
So the guidelines laid down for excavation and trench work should be followed. They can help to make the work site safe for the workers. They can also prove to be helpful in averting accidents and protecting the workers from injuries.
Workers Prone to Accidents
Trenches have to be dug at construction sites for installing electrical wiring, footings, and sewers. They are also made to access the structures below the ground. Workers performing different tasks in a construction project have to work in the trenches. The workers who may sustain injuries while working in a trench are common laborers, electricians, HVAC workers, plumbers, iron workers, operators of heavy machinery, demolition workers and carpenters. Even the site supervisors and elevator workers and specialists are at a risk of getting injured at the site.
Ways in Which Workers Can Get Injured
There are many situations in which the trench workers can get injured. The walls of the trench may collapse which may cause serious injuries or even death. The workers may trip and fall in the cluttered areas or some object may fall on them. They may drown or get hurt due to explosions and fires. There are chances of electrocution in utility line accidents. Use of heavy machinery may cause accidents. Moreover, a worker may suffer due to low oxygen and concentration of toxic gases in the atmosphere.
Reasons For Cave-Ins
Cave-ins are one of the most serious dangers confronted by the trench workers. They cause the largest number of deaths compared to the other accidents related to excavations. The worst part is that the trench walls may collapse without any prior warning or sign. Cave-ins occur suddenly and bury the unfortunate workers under heaps of heavy soil.
There are many reasons for the occurrence of such mishaps. The accidents occur when:
- The machinery is moved too close to the border of the trench.
- A torrential downpour or a leakage of water makes the soil in the trench unstable.
- If there is no bracing or the shoring and bracing is not done properly.
- In case, the backfill material is left very close to the excavation.
- The safety rules and regulations are not followed and a protective system to brace the walls is not installed.
- Things like the type of soil and environmental factors have not be considered while performing the excavation.
- There are vibrations from vehicles and heavy machinery on the site.
To prevent accidents suitable steps should be taken to avoid such situations. If you have suffered injuries while working on a construction site, you should get in touch with an experienced St. Louis workers compensation lawyer to understand your rights.