Trench digging is a necessary task for a multitude of Connecticut construction projects. In order for water lines, natural gas supplies and even electrical cables to be laid safely, workers may need to dig trenches into the ground.
Depending on the job, trenches can be anywhere from a few feet in depth to over 10 feet. Workers must enter these trenches to install the materials and make sure that everything is fitted correctly. However, if the trench is not supported correctly, workers face dangerous and sometimes lethal situations. Recently disturbed ground can shift at any moment and put workers in serious danger.
In recent years, the number of fatalities due to trench collapse has doubled nationwide. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), if a deep trench collapses around a worker, the chance of a fatality is high. To protect workers, OSHA has created standards for the reinforcement of open trenches, pits and holes where workers must enter and work.
OSHA claims that present standards, if they are followed, are sufficient to protect workers. The agency stresses that compliance with those standards is the key factor for safety. Safety consultants and insurance risk prevention professionals echo these sentiments and often go one step further. Some believe that it is imperative that all workers are fully familiar with the safety rules, whether they are digging or reinforcing those working underground. Others believe a plan should be written for each job and submitted to the insurer. This provides proof to the insurer that the company is cognizant of work safety rules.
Some companies may try to trim costs by becoming lax on safety rules that cost time or money. Those injured in a trench accident may seek the services of a workers’ compensation attorney.