It is difficult to understand how employers can disregard the life-threatening hazards to which employees are exposed when they have to work in unprotected trenches. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported that it had recently completed an investigation into an incident last December. It involved a injured workers and a trench collapse in Colorado Springs.
OSHA has proposed penalties of more than $90,500 against a concrete contractor for failing to protect workers from cave-ins in unsupported trenches. Inspectors say four employees of the company were in a trench without sloping, shielding or shoring when the walls collapsed. All four were buried, but three workers managed to escape without serious injuries.
The fourth worker was trapped by soil that buried him up to his waist. When he was ultimately removed and taken to a hospital, it was determined that he had suffered a fractured hip and femur. This type of injury can have long-term health consequences that could cause chronic pain for years to come.
Colorado workers in similar situations can pursue financial assistance through the workers’ compensation insurance program. Injured workers can utilize the services of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who can handle the claims process for them. Victims of on-the-job injuries are typically entitled to benefits to cover their medical expenses, including travel costs to and from doctors’ appointments. Furthermore, they may be awarded financial packages to make up for the loss of income. Wage-replacement is usually based on the worker’s average weekly wage at the time of the injury.
Source: krdo.com, “Colorado Springs concrete company facing fines for trench collapse”, Andrew McMillan, March 14, 2018