Excavation Injuries and Accidents
Written by Faith Anderson on July 30, 2013
Site excavation is a necessary part of many construction projects, but can be an extremely dangerous job if workers are poorly trained, if the proper safety regulations are not followed, or if the construction company employer or supervisor are in any way negligent. There are federal regulations in place to protect workers who are performing excavations on a job site, including extensive bracing and shoring requirements to prevent collapse. There are also provisions in place to protect those working in and around excavation machinery like bulldozers, backhoes, excavators, and other heavy machinery, to prevent unnecessary accident and injury. Unfortunately, when employers or supervisors are negligent or fail to provide a safe working environment for their employees, the consequences can be devastating. If you or a loved one has suffered from an injury caused by an excavation accident at work, contact a construction accident attorney for legal help.
Common Causes of Excavation Accidents
Excavation on a construction site requires the use of heavy machinery, proper safety measures, and the careful attention of construction workers and supervisors. Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that can lead to the occurrence of an excavation accident, which can result in serious injury and tragic loss of life. The following are common causes of excavation accidents on construction sites:
- Failure of excavation machinery
- Failure to properly shore an excavation site
- Poor training of construction workers
- Failure to adhere to OSHA safety regulations
- Explosion of underground utilities
- Excavation site collapse
Possible Excavation Accident Injuries
Excavation sites pose a serious risk to workers who are not properly trained in excavation safety or for those employees working on an excavation site that is not properly braced. Falls are an unfortunate accident on a construction site, sometimes occurring when an excavation site is not properly marked or when the sides of a trench are too steeply graded. These types of excavation accidents can result in injuries like broken bones, spinal cord injury, head and neck injury, foot and knee injury, back injury and wrongful death. For workers who are caught in an excavation site collapse, sometimes occurring when trench walls are not properly supported or when dirt and debris is piled too closely to the edge of the excavation, the resulting injuries may include broken bones, head or neck injury, crush injuries or even suffocation. Explosions in construction excavation sites can result in severe burns and wrongful death, among other serious injuries.
OSHA Regulations for Excavation Sites
Because unsafe and poorly maintained excavations pose such a serious danger to construction workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established the following examples of safety regulations for construction excavation:
- Each employee in an excavation shall be protected from cave-ins by an adequate protective system except when excavations are made entirely in stable rock or when excavations are less than five feet in depth
- All surface encumbrances that may pose a hazard to employees shall be removed or supported, as necessary, to safeguard employees
- The estimated location of utility installations, such as fuel, telephone, electric and water lines, or any other underground installations that may reasonably be expected to be encountered during excavation work, shall be determined prior to opening an excavation
- No employees shall be permitted underneath loads handled by lifting or digging equipment
- Employees shall not work in excavations in which there is accumulated water, or in excavations in which water is accumulating, unless adequate precautions have been taken to protect employees against the hazards posed by water accumulation
Contact a Construction Accident Attorney Today
Excavation sites pose a serious risk to construction workers, and excavation accidents can result in catastrophic injury or wrongful death. In fact, according to OSHA statistics, workers in excavated areas have a death rate over twice that of workers in other construction site areas. If you were injured in an excavation accident, or if you lost a loved one in such an accident, contact a construction accident attorney for legal help. You may be eligible for medical benefits under workers’ compensation, which can provide critical reimbursement for medical bills and lost wages. You may also have grounds to file a third-party liability claim if your injury was caused by a third party not employed by your employer. With the help of a qualified construction accident lawyer, injured workers and their families can protect their legal rights and pursue the compensation they deserve.