For workers in the construction or oil and gas industry, one of the most dangerous jobs is excavating a trench. Trenches are generally longer than they are wide, which can make them unstable and prone to collapse. Because one cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car, it’s crucial that appropriate safety measures are taken when excavating to avoid trench accidents.
Important safety measures that should be taken to ensure trench safety
- Use a protective system – For trenches that are five feet deep or more, using a protective system will help ensure the walls of the trench are stable. If the trench is more than 20 feet deep, a registered engineer must design the protective system.
- Regularly inspect trenches – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all trenches be inspected daily for any signs of hazards.
- Make sure there is proper access – All employees working in a trench deeper than four feet, need safe access to a ladder, step, or ramp with which to exit the trench.
- Keep heavy things away from trench edges – Things like heavy machinery or piles of excavated soil can put additional weight on the edges of trenches, causing them to collapse. It’s important the edges of any trench are cleared of heavy loads.
- Know where underground utilities are located – Digging into underground utilities can be extremely dangerous for workers and also cause damage to water, electric, sewage, and other utility lines.
OSHA reports that every month, two workers are killed in trench collapses in the United States. Employers have a responsibility to properly train employees on trench safety to avoid workplace accidents or deaths. Employers must also provide the appropriate safety equipment for workers.
Houston Trench Accidents Attorney
Because Texas employers are not required to subscribe to workers compensation, many employees are financially unprotected in the event of an accident. If you or someone you love was hurt or killed in a trench collapse, you may be able to obtain compensation. Call the experienced Houston, Texas trench accidents attorneys at Richard J. Plezia & Associates today for a free consultation to review your case.