Trench Accidents Overview

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Introduction
There are a number of different accidents that can occur on a construction site daily. According to a study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), there are 5,703 deaths annually due to construction site related accidents, accounting for the most workplace injuries in the Unites States. In an attempt to prevent injuries from happening, many construction companies will regularly drill workers on safety procedures and the general importance of safety on site. Unfortunately, most of these lessons are inadequate and are usually only videos highlighting some common-sense practices that workers would be carrying out without the implementation of the video.

The only true way to reduce the risk of accidents in the workplace is to understand how they come about. Once you are able to understand the different risk factors involved in accidents that happen, you will be able to tailor your working procedure in order to avoid these accidents. If you do find yourself a victim of a construction accident, specifically a trench accident, there are ways for you to fight back and legal actions you can take to get the compensation you deserve.

What are trench accidents?
Any construction job usually requires that a trench be dug to install and hide hide electrical wires and pipes, or to gain access to an area below the ground for other reasons. This is usually a routine operation performed with a backhoe, excavator, or some other method, and can be done without any problems. Unfortunately, trench accidents can and do happen – resulting in extensive injuries and fatalities to their victims.

A trench accident occurs because of an accident that happens within the trench itself. The trench may have been dug poorly, making it shaky and unstable, and causing it to collapse inward. Another accident can occur if a worker is careless while working in or around the trench itself. The most common type of trench accident is when a worker either slips or falls into the trench because of slippery ground above the trench, or as a result of the carelessness of a fellow worker. Trench falls frequently result in sprains and even clean-breaks of bones if the trench is deep and the fall is awkward. Additionally, it is possible that workers could be electrocuted or burned by things like frayed wires, but these types of occurrences are less frequent than the falls.

What can I do to prevent trench accidents?
Whether or not you are in charge of the trench construction or are just working in one for a short time, there are things you can do to prevent accidents from happening. Be very careful when you are around the trench, especially while approaching the area. Be on constant alert of your surroundings, and notify someone in charge if you feel unsafe. There is a tendency for human beings to treat risks less seriously when we have successfully faced them a number of times; if you are constantly working in and out of a trench, it is important that you fight this feeling and maintain awareness of your surroundings.

Be extremely careful around the wires and pipes that may be down there as well. Because of their location inside a trench, it is very easy for wires to become damp; if they are frayed at all, there is a severe electrocution risk to any worker who is working near them. If you spot a wire that is frayed or near a damp area, report it to someone immediately and exit the trench as soon as possible.

What should I do if I am involved in a trench accident?
There are laws in place covering what needs to be done in the area of trench safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates all employers to follow certain rules and standards to give the employee the best working conditions in terms of safety. These are state and federal laws that must be followed, and legal action can be taken if they are negligible.

Once all of the medical aspects have been attended to following your accident, your next step should be seeing a lawyer to work out the specifics of your case. If you suspect that the accident was not your fault, but rather was due to negligence on the part of your employer, you have grounds to sue for damages and compensation. Whatever you decide to do, it is important to consult a lawyer early; he or she will be able to listen to your story and then give you advice on what action you should take next. There are many law firms that deal exclusively with construction site accident victims, and will know exactly what to do to help you with your case.

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