The Bureau of Labor Statistics data has reported that, between the years 2000 and 2009, an average of 35 workers have died in trenching and excavation cave-ins. The risk of fatality is extremely prevalent, as a single cubic yard of dirt could weigh up to 3,000 pounds. OSHA has required that trenches 5 feet deep or more will require a worker to use a protective system unless the excavation consists of stable rock. There are many regulations that OSHA has put in place so that employers and employees alike abide by the rules, including training and designating a competent person to ensure safety measures, as well as having the excavation site inspected regularly.
An Ohio Workers’ Death and Trench Statistics
An Ohio company was cited when a 33-year-old employee was crushed to death when he was digging out inside a 12-foot trench. The trench walls caved in and buried him in thousands of pounds of dirt, where his body was recovered by rescue workers hours later. In 2016, 23 workers were killed in these types of incidents and another 12 reported injuries. In many cases, a trench collapse will be fatal and unsurvivable.
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After an investigation was conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it was found that the employer (KRW Plumbing LLC) failed to provide trench cave-in protection for its employees. The company was then cited two willful and two serious safety violations. Many people believe that if OSHA’s safety standards were followed, the man’s life could have been saved. Their standards state that cave-in protection is required in a trench that is more than 5-feet deep. The penalty imposed was $274,359.
If you were working in an unsafe workplace environment and were injured as a result, there are some questions you may have about recovering damages. Call us today for more information on how we can help you with your case. At Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, we will help you any way that we can because we have experience with construction cases.