Open Pits and Trenches That Cause Injury and Lawsuits
Written by Faith Anderson on July 30, 2013
It is absolutely the responsibility of the construction company to keep the workers on the job safe from injuries caused by open pits and trenches. If you’ve been injured and don’t feel like you are being fairly by your boss, talk to a construction accident attorney to discuss your legal options.
In all aspects of construction work, it is imperative that workers are properly trained in the operation of heavy equipment and tools, and in the protection of their own safety and well-being. Improper or insufficient training of construction workers, or negligence on the part of employers and general contractors can lead to devastating consequences, including the serious injury or death of workers on a construction site. Aspects of the construction industry that involve the use of open pits and trenches in particular, require specific safety protocol and training because they pose such a serious danger to construction workers. If you were injured in an accident involving an open pit or trench, or if you lost a loved one in an accident of this kind, contact a construction accident attorney today to explore your compensation options.
Uses of Pits and Trenches
Building pits and trenches is necessary for many construction jobs, including tasks involving the repair or construction of buried utilities. A trench is deep and narrow in length, and when a trench collapses, it is easy for workers to become trapped in the pit under the weight of the heavy soil above. When pits and trenches are used on construction sites, it is imperative that safeguards are in place to protect workers inside the trench from a dangerous collapse, which can lead to suffocation and wrongful death, and to protect workers from falling into open pits and trenches, which can also lead to serious injury. Unfortunately, when employers and general contractors ignore safety regulations or cut corners to save time and money, the lives of construction workers are put at an unnecessary risk on a daily basis.
Dangers of Open Pits and Trenches
In many cases of construction accidents involving open pits and trenches, the accident is caused by something as simple and avoidable as carelessness or poor training. Because of the dangerous nature of the construction industry, it is imperative that all construction workers are properly trained in procedure and safety protocol, in order to avoid injury or death. Unfortunately, when safety precautions are disregarded and workers are forced to work in a dangerous environment, the resulting consequences can be devastating. Some of the most serious consequences caused by accidents involving open pits and trenches include:
- Head and neck injury
- Back injury
- Broken limbs
- Wrongful death
OSHA Regulations for Pits and Trenches
Trench collapses and other accidents involving open pits and trenches cause dozens of fatalities and hundreds of injuries every year in the construction industry. In order to protect construction workers from the dangers of open pits and trenches, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established the following guidelines to avoid injuries and fatalities caused by trench collapses:
- Never enter an unprotected trench
- Always provide a way to exit a trench, including a stairway, ladder or ramp, with no more than 25 feet of lateral travel for employees in the trench
- Employ a registered professional engineer to design a protective system for trenches 20 feet deep or greater
- Keep spoils at least two feet back from the edge of a trench
- Make sure that trenches are inspected by a competent person prior to entry and after any hazard-increasing event such as vibrations, a rainstorm or excessive surcharge loads
Contact a Construction Accident Attorney Today
Construction accidents are serious enough on their own, and the consequences are only more devastating when the accident is caused by something as simple as negligence. If you or a loved one was injured in a construction accident involving a trench collapse or an open pit or trench, contact a construction accident attorney to discuss your options for legal recourse. You may be entitled to medical benefits by filing a workers’ compensation claim, or you may be entitled to death benefits under workers’ compensation laws if your loved one was killed in a construction accident. Workplace injuries and fatalities can leave injured workers and their families crippled by medical bills and without a necessary source of income in some cases. With the help of a qualified construction accident lawyer, victims of trench collapses and other open pit and trench accidents can protect their legal rights and pursue the compensation they deserve.