Following the tragic death of an employee of an excavating company in Ohio, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched an investigation. A spokesperson for the agency said the inspectors would focus on the company’s compliance with prescribed safety regulations. A safety violation might have caused the collapse of this trench.
Reportedly, the excavation collapsed shortly before noon on Dec. 28 while a 25-year-old worker was working at an estimated depth of 20 to 30 feet. Several rescue squads responded to attempt the rescue of the man who was buried under the massive weight of the soil. However, they used their hands to dig him out, for fear of further collapse which could also overcome the rescue workers. Although they did their best to stabilize the excavation, they could not dare use heavy equipment.
This rescue attempt — which ultimately turned into a recovery — continued for more than 12 hours in icy weather conditions. The deceased worker’s body was only removed from the collapsed trench after midnight. It was a tactical rescue team that finally retrieved the body.
It is a safety violation for any employer to allow employees to enter an unsecured trench; however, it seems to happen frequently, as is underscored by this incident. Ohio families who have to deal with such a tragic loss may find comfort in knowing that the financial burden may be eased by the death benefits that are available. With the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, financial assistance may be obtained to cover end-of-life expenses and a portion of lost income.
Source: firehouse.com, “Dozens of Rescuers Tried to Free Worker from Warren County Trench Collapse”, Lawrence Budd, Dec. 30, 2017