Construction work routinely exposes skilled workers to a number of dangers. The public often marvels at construction workers when they are perched high above on I-Beams. The danger from falls is an obvious workplace hazard. Still, a far more common hazard is one that is not visible to most onlookers passing a construction site.
The dangers presented by trenching and excavating can be enormous and are often hidden from the gaze of the public. Workers in trenches are in danger of cave-ins, wall collapses, toxic fumes, flooding, and falls. Trenches are required to have protective systems to stabilize walls to protect workers inside them. Injuries in trench collapses range from asphyxiation to physical crushing.
As trenches are often less visible areas in constructions sites, regulatory agencies must exercise greater vigilance when inspecting them.
Recently, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration cited a New York construction company, Blue Heron, when they discovered workers laboring in an unprotected trench deeper than 5 feet. Further, the trench lacked a ladder and the excavated soil was piled less than 2 feet from the edge of the trench.
The construction cite at the Brockport campus of the Statue University of New York was cited for fines of almost $150,000. The violation was considered significant, and the enforcement action might place Blue Heron Construction in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which will require rigorous follow-up.
While OSHA is charged with preventing deaths and injuries in these kinds of accidents, but workers should also be vigilant about reporting suspected violations in the safety code. Information on trench and excavation safety can be found here: athttp://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
Washington State Construction Workers who have been injured in a trenching accident should immediately seek medical help. A worker should then seek the advice of an experienced Washington Workers Compensation Lawyer for advice and guidance. The experienced Washington Workers Compensation Lawyers at Emery Reddy are standing by to guide you through the workers compensation process.