Increasing Frequency of Trench Excavation Deaths
Practically all building construction sites involve the use of trenches and excavations, and work performed in these areas is more dangerous than nearly any other construction job. Most deep trench work is performed by plumbers or excavators, who dig the troughs necessary for water or sewer lines.
Trench Excavation Risks
There’s a significant increase in trench excavation deaths over recent years. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the occurrence of excavation and trench-related fatalities during 2016 nearly doubled the average of the previous five years.
Some of the most common fatal trench excavation accidents include:
- Suffocation. Most trench excavation deaths occur when a trench collapses on itself. Soil can weigh as much as 3,000 pounds per cubic yard, and all of this dirt rains down on workers below when trenches aren’t secured properly. This happens so quickly that workers don’t have time to exit the trench, burying them alive and causing death by asphyxiation.
- Falls. Utility and construction workers must frequently enter deep holes or trenches to lay pipe, and they can easily fall while attempting to enter or exit a trench. Trenches and holes on construction projects may exceed 20 ft. in depth, creating the potential for fatal falls.
- Struck-by accidents. Large sewer pipes must be properly secured. If they’re not, they might unexpectedly swing around and strike utility and construction workers. Heavy equipment is typically used for excavation, and this machinery can cause fatal injuries when the operator loses control and strikes nearby workers.
Trench Accident Liability
Construction employers have a responsibility to ensure worker safety. If they fail to do so, and a worker dies as a result, the employer may be held liable for their negligence.
If you’ve lost a loved one in a trench excavation accident, you need representation by an experienced attorney. Your lawyer can help you pursue a wrongful death claim to recover funeral expenses, burial costs, loss of income and inheritance, and pain and suffering. To learn more, contact the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., by using the form on this page.