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Trench construction work injury – Workers Compensation Legal Blogs Posted by Tara Reck, Esq. – INJURY ATTORNEY

Trench construction work injury – Workers Compensation Legal Blogs Posted by Tara Reck, Esq.

Construction workers face many potential hazards in their work environment. For example, heavy lifting, awkward postures, and repetitive work activities. Other examples include reaching heights, working in confined spaces, hazardous materials, power tools, machinery, and weather conditions. In addition, flying debris, slips, and trips and falls are just a few of the conditions that contribute to construction hazards.

Accident at work while digging a trench

All of these activities can lead to serious accidents at work for construction workers. However, statistics show that trenching accidents are particularly dangerous. In fact, Washington State’s Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) conducted research studies on the subject. Unfortunately, they show that every month two construction workers are killed in accidents in trenches.

Trenches are very dangerous because a single cubic meter of soil can weigh as much as a car. L&I therefore calls unprotected trenches “early graves”. As a result, there are many state and national safety initiatives, rules, and regulations designed to improve trenching safety. The aim, in turn, is to reduce work accidents and work accidents related to trenches.

Accidents at work during excavation work in the construction industry

Excavation refers to any man-made cut, cavity, dig, or indentation in the surface of the earth. Numerous construction site and environmental factors have an impact on trench security. Some of these factors include trench depth, soil composition, water, vibration, and weight. Other considerations include machinery, falling objects, electrical wiring in or around the trench, and falls.

Digging and Preventing Work Accidents and Injuries

L&I has developed several safety requirements in order to reduce the frequency of occupational accidents when digging trenches. First, whenever a trench is four or more feet deep, the construction crew must protect it by beveling, propping, propping, and shielding. Slopes and banking refers to removing flooring to avoid the possibility of a collapse. Shoring is when construction workers use supports to prop up the walls of the trench. Shields, such as B. a trench box, protect the workers in the trench. As OSHA says: Slope it. Shore it. Shield it.

In addition to trench protection, L&I also needs a designated “competent person” on the construction site to monitor the trench construction. This person should have the knowledge and skills to regularly assess changing conditions on the construction site. In addition, this person must take measures to prevent accidents at work caused by ditch collapses. For example, workers could use heavy equipment to dig the trench. Then, while they are removing soil from the ground, a heap of debris begins to grow. Thereafter, if the spoil pile and equipment are too close to the vertical walls of the trench, they create an additional load that increases the likelihood of the trench wall collapsing. Finally, vibrating equipment, adverse weather conditions, groundwater and soil type can also increase the likelihood of a collapse.

Additional considerations for work safety when digging trenches

Trenchers must also be able to easily enter and exit the trench. Typically, construction workers achieve this with ladders that protrude at least three feet above a pedestal. Other options are stairs or ramps. However, they must be designed by a registered professional engineer. Bottom line – L&I requires a suitable path in or out of the trench every 25 feet.

Finally, workers should avoid trenches that have stagnant or pooling water. In addition, workers should never work under load while in a trench. Remember that June is ditch safety month across the country. For more resources on trench safety, hazards, and solutions, visit the OSHA website dedicated to digging and excavation.

This article was first published on:

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Ms. Tara Reck is the senior L&I attorney at Reck Law – Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Washington State. If you would like further information, please contact Ms. Reck as follows:
* Seattle | Bellevue | Mercer Island Office: (206) 395-6141
* Tacoma Office: (253) 999-9828
* Renton office: (425) 800-8195
* Port Orchard Office: (360) 876-4123
* Email:
* Your Workers’ Compensation blog at or their company website at

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