Trench Collapse Causes the Death of Construction Worker

Trench Collapse

The construction industry is full of many life-threatening hazards. Falls, tripping over equipment, electrocutions, and being hit by an object at the jobsite are just a few of the workplace accidents that can injure construction workers. Though accidents can and do occur, when they happen within the construction industry they can quickly become life-threatening. Recently, a trench collapse at a jobsite caused the death of a Texas construction worker.

A recent Gregory, Texas trench collapse caused the death of a construction worker on the jobsite and left another two workers injured. The workers were using a backhoe to dig the trench when it collapsed and buried the 36-year old victim alive. Another worker was partially buried and a third was injured while jumping in to rescue his two coworkers.

The Dangers of a Trench Collapse

Trenches are incredibly dangerous places to work, as they are often filled with safety and environmental hazards. A trench collapse is a reasonable fear for construction workers, as just one cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car.

Since 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) fines have ranged from $37,000 to well over $140,000 for trenching violations. Construction workers working on trenches can face a high risk of trench collapse dangers such as:

  • The trench not being supported by shoring or trench boxes
  • Trenches dug on previously disturbed soil
  • Vibration of the land around the trench due to the vehicles driving around the site
  • Unsafe distances between the soil pile and the lip of the trench
  • Dried trench walls that make trenches weak
  • Heavy rainfall and other weather conditions

Trench Construction Safety

Excavation and trenching are some of the most dangerous operations within the construction industry. Regular pre-work inspections should be undertaken before a job begins to reduce hazards and serious risks of injury. Safety inspections should check the type of excavation being performed, the support and warning systems in place, the access areas, and the weather conditions.

In order to protect construction workers from injuries or fatalities, OSHA recommends the following safety measures when working on a trench or excavation job:

  • Inspect trenches daily before work begins
  • Check the weather conditions before beginning any work, being mindful of any rain or storms
  • Keep heavy equipment away from trench edges
  • Be mindful of the location of any underground equipment
  • Always wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Don’t work beneath raised loads
  • Conduct regular atmosphere checks; and, if low oxygen and toxic gasses are present, no one should enter the trench
  • Plan and implement safety measures

Houston Trench Collapse Accidents

When a construction accident such as a trench collapse occurs, it can be devastating to those involved. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the construction industry has the most worker fatalities of any industry. Thousands of construction injuries occur each year, no matter if the work was done in a residential, commercial, or industrial setting. Employers who fail to meet construction safety standards or follow OSHA guidelines should be held accountable. If you or a loved one were injured in a construction accident, contact the experienced construction accident attorneys at Dax F. Garza, P.C. today for a free consultation.

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