A trench is a man-made cut into the earth’s surface, and trenching is among the most dangerous construction operations. Missouri employers are expected to do a proper analysis of various aspects in order to ascertain the methods that will be used to prevent a trench collapse. Such collapses cause multiple fatalities and hundreds of injuries every year.
Trench walls should always be reinforced by benching and shoring, and the precautions taken will depend on certain factors, including the proximity of underground utility lines, electrical hazards and vehicular traffic. A 19-year-old man was fortunate to survive a recent trench collapse in another state. It was reported that he was working in a trench where the strength of the trench wall was compromised by the proximity of an existing pipeline that caused a weak section in the one wall. In addition, it was revealed that the trench was on the shoulder of the road, making it even more unstable.
When the trench collapsed, the young man was trapped and covered by mud that caused bruising and a build-up of muddy fluid in his lungs. He was rescued and taken to a hospital where he was last reported to be recovering and expected to be discharged soon. The media report did not mention whether the incident was reported to or investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Missouri workers are covered by the workers’ compensation insurance fund, and when a worker suffers injuries in a trench collapse, he or she will be entitled to claim benefits. The benefits usually include reimbursement for medical expenses and payments for the time spent off work while recuperating. In addition, benefits may include compensation for any partial or permanent disabilities that were brought about by the injuries.
Source: local8now.com, “Worker in Roane Co. trench collapse will make full recovery“, Heather Burian, Dec. 17, 2014