Construction trenching is defined loosely as carving deeply into the ground. On the surface, creating a trench sounds relatively safe. These tasks take place on the ground so falling from elevated heights is not the main risk. However, digging a trench, or working inside one, poses other injury hazards.
If you routinely work on trench projects, it is wise to learn about their risks. Being well-informed about the hazards gives you a much better chance of avoiding construction accidents and injuries.
What can happen to trench workers?
When workers receive proper training and education about the dangers of trench work, construction accidents are rare. For those new to trenching or construction in general, beware of the following accident and injury hazards.
- Trench collapse: Reportedly, cave-ins or trench collapses kill two workers every month on average. If your employer does not have an engineer onsite to check for hazards, you could face an unexpected and dangerous trench collapse.
- Dangerous atmospheric conditions: Digging into the earth uncovers areas with little oxygen for workers to breathe, possibly impacting their immediate health. Trenching can also disturb soil containing toxic chemicals or gases, leading to other health concerns.
- Falling into trenches: We mentioned above that falling from extreme heights is a minor risk for trench workers. However, depending on how deep the excavation is, a fall could still result in a work injury.
- Machinery hazards: It takes several pieces of large equipment to complete a trench project. Without proper safety measures, workers in or near a trench could be struck by dump trucks or backhoes.
- Utility line contact: If your superiors have not located utility lines like electrical conduits or gas pipes, workers could suffer electrocution or exposure to toxic substances.
Workers’ compensation exists to provide financial and medical care relief for most injured construction workers. If you are having difficulty accessing your benefits, it is time to learn more about the program. An experienced legal professional can help ensure your claim is successful.