A worker sustained fatal job injuries after he was buried under 11 feet of dirt while working at a Los Angeles area construction site. According to an Associated Press news report, the man was buried in a trench during an excavation the morning of July 29, 2010. Skilled rescue workers and 95 firefighters attempted, for three hours, to free the worker. The California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) is investigating the incident.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of this construction worker for their tremendous loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Trench Collapse Incidents
Trench collapse accidents, especially at construction accident sites, are common occurrences and often lead to death or catastrophic injuries. According to Cal/OSHA’s statistics, from 2001 to 2005, 26 workers in California have died as a result of trench cave-ins and 207 have been injured. Cal/OSHA officials say that almost in every case of trench collapse, the cause was a failure to properly shore up the trenches.
Safety Standards Relating to Trenches
Based on this news report, it is not clear how or why the worker was buried. I trust OSHA investigators are looking into whether the contractor or construction company adhered to specific state regulations that relate to trenches. California law requires companies to obtain permits from the Department of Occupational Safety and Health every time a worker enters an excavation 5 feet or deeper. Employers are also required to constantly monitor the stability of the soil around the trench and pay attention to changing weather patterns.
In such cases, it would be in the best interests of the deceased worker’s family to seek the counsel of an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the official investigation, regardless of its duration, and make sure that their legal rights are preserved. In such cases, victims’ families may be able to file what is known as a “third party claim,” which is usually brought against a party other than the employer, such as a contractor or a sub-contractor. Such claims are usually worth a lot more than California workers compensation benefits.
What should construction companies do additionally to ensure the safety of workers in trenches?
The Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.