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Father of 2 fatally injured at work when trench collapses

Construction company owners nationwide, including in Colorado, have significant responsibilities related to the safety of their workers. One of the most treacherous areas of development is trenches. Because there are so many known hazards related to trenches, employers must be fully aware of the required trenching safeguards, and they must also ensure that workers are educated. Every construction site must have a qualified person to evaluate excavations and identify potential cave-ins to prevent workers from being injured at work.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently completed an investigation in another state into a July trench collapse that claimed the life of a father of two. Investigators determined that the company failed on all levels of safeguarding the trench in which the worker died. The agency reported that compliance with safety regulations could have prevented this tragic death.

According to an accident report, the worker was installing a sewer line in a trench when the roadway above collapsed and caused the break of a main water pipe. Water streamed out of the half-foot pipe, and the trench walls collapsed. The worker drowned because there was no planned quick exit, and he was overwhelmed in no time. OSHA investigators said there was a rainstorm on the night before the cave-in, and a proper assessment would have recognized the potential danger of a trench collapse.

As long as construction company owners continue to disregard the safety of their employees, there will be workers who are injured at work. Although the consequences of a fatal workplace accident are much more far reaching than financial, the death benefits offered by the Colorado workers' compensation program may provide some relief. The benefits will cover the expenses of end-of-life arrangements along with some level of compensation to the victim's dependents for lost income.

Source:, "OSHA: Worker killed in Longmeadow trench collapse 'would not have died if employer had followed proper procedures'", Jim Kinney, Nov. 18, 2015

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