Trenching and excavation jobs are some of the most dangerous jobs in the Boston area. Nearly three hundred people lost their lives due to trenching accidents between 2000 and 2006. Trenches are prone to caving in, and deeper trenches mean more safety precautions need to be taken. If a worker gets injured or killed, the details of the event will be investigated. If the company is found liable for the accident because of unsafe work practices, they face massive repercussions.
Consider this Massachusetts example from JE Amorello, Inc. Employees were working in a trench exceeding eight feet in many parts. Safety measures, like correct shoring and sloping, were not taken. Nobody on the team was injured, but the company was still fined $15,400. Trenches are prone to collapse when improperly dug out, trapping workers underneath. Though some jobs run much deeper, eight feet is still very dangerous.
There are several safety precautions every construction company needs to follow. Piles of construction materials that block passageways or improper exits from trenches sound like small problems, but they can result in serious injury or fines for thousands of dollars. If your team is not following these rules, suggest some changes.
OSHA law protects workers’ rights to a safe working environment. Employers are also prevented by law from taking action against someone who reports unsafe practices. If you believe your employer is not following the rules, visit the OSHA website to make a complaint.
Trenching regulation is so strict because most accidents are very serious and, in many cases, avoidable. Trenching means workers are working below ground level and often out of sight. Cave-ins are the most common way injuries occur. If the excavated dirt is moved improperly, the dirt walls are unstable. Heavy equipment placed at the top of the walls can easily cause a cave-in. Improper sheeting or shoring are another cause. Following proper safety rules, like wearing PPE and using adequate shoring techniques, reduces a large amount of risk.
Environmental factors cause cave-ins, too. Nearby construction or vibrations from heavy commercial traffic can loosen dirt walls, and standing water and rain both loosen the soil. Massive temperature or weather changes can also be detrimental.
There are a few safety measures commonly taken to reduce trenching accidents:
If you were involved in a cave-in or other trenching accident at work, contact Sweeney Merrigan Law. We have built our business in the Boston and the surrounding areas, and our team knows the laws inside and out. Hiring a quality attorney means getting the appropriate compensation you deserve.