Boston Trenching Accident Attorney

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.

Employer Responsibility

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.

Most Trenching Accidents Are Preventable

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.

Trenching Safety

There are a few safety measures commonly taken to reduce trenching accidents:

  • Proper protective systems help identify soil to determine what kinds of techniques will be used to keep the team safe. For instance, Benching cannot be used in Type C soil. 29 CFR 1926 Subpart P Appendix A helps evaluate soil. Systems must be built according to 29 CFR 1926.652 or be held liable for any accidents.
  • Contractors need to be in constant communication with sewer, electric, and other utility companies to ensure the trench will not disturb any underground pipes. Traffic is also a consideration, especially if the work site is not easily viewable from the street.
  • The team must test the dirt and environment for toxic substances and other problem chemicals. Leaking pipes and tanks can emit harmful chemicals.
  • The team must be able to handle severe water buildup in case of a storm. If the trench begins to fill with water, there must be a way to remove the water, save equipment, and get employees to safety.
  • The work site must be inspected on a daily basis. If environmental conditions change, another inspection should be done.

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.