Trenches are known to be potential death traps if they are not supported by trench boxes or other recommended methods of collapse prevention. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes strict safety regulations for any trenches deeper than five feet. Unfortunately, some company owners in Ohio choose to expose their employees to the life-threatening hazards of unprotected trenches rather that spending the money and time to prevent injuries or fatalities. Such a safety violation recently led to a trench collapse from which four workers were fortunate to be rescued.
Rescue workers were called to the scene on a recent Wednesday morning. Reportedly, four workers were replacing sewer lines when the 10-foot deep trench in which they were working collapsed. This is a life-threatening situation because the collapsing soil of a trench wall can weigh thousands of pounds. Approximately 25 firefighters worked on the rescue attempt.
Miraculously, the lives of all four the workers were saved. Two of them suffered injuries, and they were rushed to a hospital while the other two workers were uninjured and were sent home. Rescue workers reported that there was no trench box or any other safety precautions present in the trench when they arrived.
OSHA will be investigating the incident to determine whether this potentially fatal workplace accident was the result of a safety violation. The two injured workers will be entitled to pursue recovery of medical expenses by filing benefits claims with the Ohio workers’ compensation insurance system. A percentage of the wages lost during their hospitalization will be included in financial packages that typically form part of the compensation awarded.
Source: newsnet5.com, “OSHA opens investigation after two workers are injured in trench collapse in Willoughby“, Megan Hickey, July 6, 2016