Falls are some of the most common construction site accidents. At the same time, they are also some of the most easily preventable workplace accidents. The reality is that when property owners, employers, and contractors ignore basic safety measures, it’s the workers who often have to pay the price.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines excavation and trenching as being among the most hazardous construction operations. Federal, state, and local building codes, all require that any open hole, trench, or pits be guarded and marked appropriately.
Some of the most common injuries that can result from falls into a pit or trench include, but are not limited to:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal damage
- Death can occur as a result of any of these injuries
Excavations vs. Trenches
An excavation is defined as any man-made cut, cavity, trench or depression in the earth’s surface formed by earth removal. Specifically, a trench is a narrow excavation, made below the surface of the ground. The depth of a trench has to be greater then it’s width, and, at the same time, the width should be smaller than 15 feet.
Common Accidents Involving Excavations, Pits, or Trenches
For people doing excavation work, cave-ins pose the greatest risk. A cave-in occurs when the excavation walls collapse, burying anything and anyone in the hole at the time. A cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car. Needless to say that the chances of survival are low for a victim caught in a cave-in.
An open pit or trench poses other risks besides a cave-in. Some of the potential hazards include:
- Falling into a trench (workers or heavy equipment)
- Exposure to hazardous chemicals (including flammable gases and contaminants)
Construction sites often involve multiple parties working together on the same project. In consequence, you may find it difficult to figure out who exactly is responsible for your injuries or losses.
Fortunately, O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm can provide the representation you need to pursue your claim and enforce your legal rights. Call one of our offices in Elk Grove or Sacramento to schedule a free case evaluation.