A man was injured in a Orange County construction accident the afternoon of June 2, 2009, The Orange County Register reports. Orange County firefighters rescued the construction worker, who was trapped up to his waist in a 10-foot trench. The man remained conscious during the hour-long rescue operation and is recovering from his California personal injuries, officials say. The Orange County construction accident occurred at a construction site on Moody Street and Malaga Drive in La Palma. The man was apparently working when the walls of the trench came down. The man was eventually able to climb out using a ladder after firefighters dug out much of the dirt that had caved in.
I’m extremely relieved that this Southern California construction accident did not result in tragedy like many other trench collapse incidents have. I commend the firefighters who rescued this man and wish the personally injured worker the very best for a quick and complete recovery.
Trench cave-ins are unfortunately common construction site accidents that can be fatal or cause significant injuries. According to Cal/OSHA’s statistics, over a five-year period between 2001 and 2005, 26 Californians have been killed in trench collapses and 207 Californians have been injured in these entirely preventable construction accidents.
In almost every instance of trench collapse, the incident was caused by a failure to shore up a trench properly, according to OSHA. State regulations clearly state that each time a worker enters a trench 5 feet or deeper, companies must obtain a permit from the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH). State regulations mandate daily inspections of the trench and having safety systems such as the nature of the soil in the area or preventing heavy vehicles or equipment from operating next to the trench.
Workers who are personally injured in trench collapses should consult with a California construction accident attorney, who is well versed with third party claims. These claims, typically worth many times what workers compensation would offer, are filed against a party other than an employer whose negligence or failure to follow state or federal regulations caused the trench collapse. Such a third party could be a contractor, sub-contractor or even maintenance personnel.