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Workers' injuries: Worker survives collapse of 20-foot trench

Construction company owners in Missouri are expected to be knowledgeable about the required safety precautions that must be taken to protect workers in trenches. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has strict regulations and provides clear guidelines for the manner in which trenches must be secured to prevent collapses and resulting workers' injuries. When the walls of a trench collapse, workers can be buried under tons of soil in a matter of seconds, and survivors are few.

One of a small number of trench collapse victims who survived such an ordeal owes his or her life to the firefighters in St. Louis. According to a report from the fire department, the incident occurred at a site where subcontractors were busy with the installation of sewers. There was an unexpected shift of soil, and one worker became trapped in a trench that was estimated to have been approximately 20-feet deep.

Reportedly, the individual was buried up to his waist in soil and mud. About two dozen firefighters rushed to the scene and constructed a rigging system to hoist the worker out of the mud. The person was buried for an hour before he or she was rescued. The victim was rushed to a medical facility in a stable condition.

There are more recoveries than rescues when trenches collapse, and either way, there will be unanticipated expenses to cover. Survivors will have expenses related to workers' injuries, and the families of those who lost their lives will have to cope with the high costs of end-of-life arrangements. Financial assistance can be obtained through the Missouri workers' compensation insurance program. Medical costs and/or expenses related to funerals and burials are typically covered by the insurance benefits, along with a percentage of lost income.

Source: kplr11.com, "Firefighters rescue worker trapped 20 feet underground", July 15, 2016

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