According to OSHA excavation involves any cut, trench or depression involving man-made removal of earth. A trench is defined as an excavation having more depth than width, and it can be no wider than 15 feet. Both trenching and excavating are considered among the most hazardous jobs in the construction field. However, there are many ways in which an individual can stay safe.
The first step to staying safe is to understand the potential dangers of working in a trench or excavation site. Falling loads, falls and environmental hazards are among the biggest dangers a worker may face in a trench or excavation job site. However, cave-ins generally pose the greatest danger, and collapses cause dozens of death and hundreds of injuries each year. Per OSHA rules, trenches are to be inspected each day to ensure that they are safe to enter.
The inspection must be done by a competent person, which means he or she can recognize any changes that may make a job site unsafe. He or she must also be authorized to correct any issues found in a prompt manner. If a trench is more than four feet deep, workers must be given access to an egress such as a ladder, step or ramp that is located within 25 feet of them.
If a worker is injured or becomes ill on a job site or otherwise through the course of his or her employment, that worker may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Those benefits may help to pay for medical bills or replace a portion of a worker’s salary after a job injury. Those who have questions about their case may wish to talk to an attorney who may be able to review a particular case and provide legal advice concerning workers’ compensation.