Construction, Enforcement and Inspection

Construction Employer Alert: Trench Deaths Spiked in 2016

OSHA recently cited an Ohio company after a 33-year-old employee was crushed to death. The worker was digging soil out of a trench in Washington Township when the trench walls around him gave way, burying him in thousands of pounds of dirt.

According to OSHA, the victim is one of 23 workers killed and 12 others who reported injures in trench collapses in 2016. Trench collapses are rarely survivable—just one cubic yard of soil can weight up to 3,000 pounds. That’s the weight of a small automobile.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels, PhD, calls the trend alarming and unacceptable. He added, “There is no excuse. These fatalities are completely preventable by complying with OSHA standards that every construction contractor should know.”
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