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A brief overview of trenching safety at construction sites

Construction is a dangerous profession. It's a statement most people would not argue against. But despite the fact that there are state and federal regulations to keep these dangers in check, accidents can still occur.

Most people would agree that avoiding hazardous work conditions is the best way to avoid these types of accidents. But without extensive knowledge of safety procedures, it can be difficult to recognize when you are in a dangerous situation and could be seriously injured.

By explaining trenching and excavation dangers in this week's blog post, we hope to give our Ohio readers the information they need to not only identify unsafe working conditions but also how to avoid a construction accident. By avoiding the accident, our readers may also avoid suffering a serious work-related injury as well.

Because trenches require workers to excavate soil and debris from a specific area, there is a risk that the ground could become unstable and collapse in on a worker. Because "one cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car," injuries can range from serious to fatal. That's why OSHA requires all trenches deeper than five feet to include protective systems that are designed to stop a collapse from harming workers within the trench.

Despite being required by federal regulations, some construction companies across the nation have failed to install proper protective systems to prevent trench collapse and any subsequent injuries. It's worth noting that this negligence can lead to fines issued by OSHA and also to possible litigation in the event that a worker suffers injury.

A construction company may also be held liable for the worker's injuries through workers' compensation as well. As we have mentioned on this blog before though, sometimes civil litigation can disqualify someone from filing for workers' compensation benefits in the event of injury. Questions about this should be directed toward a skilled lawyer who can provide you with answers that will give you the best possible outcome for your case.

Source: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration," Trenching and Excavation Safety Fact Sheet," Accessed Aug. 27, 2014

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