Georgia Trench Collapses and Construction Accidents on Construction Sites


March 17, 2014

Working at a construction site requires the exercise of preventive safety measures due to the inherent hazards on a Georgia construction site. The safety of workers at a construction site can be compromised by improper maintenance and inspection, defective parts or machinery, failure of protective systems, loose rock or soil and other hazardous conditions as outlined in Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA (OSHA) Regulations 1926.650-653. Some occupational hazards that can lead to injury or death include electrocutions, slip and fall accidents, scaffolding collapses, defective equipment, or trenching accidents.

Those on an Atlanta construction sites often operate under the assumption that if it doesn't happen today, then there's no need to worry. However, accidents of varying degree of severity can happen in the hazard filled environment of a construction site on any day or time. Even with the exercise of extreme caution, a serious trenching accident can occur and cause catastrophic crush injuries, suffocation and even death.

Just law August, OSHA launched an investigation into a fatal trench collapse accident in Columbus. Federal safety investigators conducted a physical inspection of the site where two construction workers died of asphyxia when they were trapped when a trench collapsed according to a WTVM news report. Six men were using a tamp to pack the dirt when the trench cave-in happened. Four men were able to escape the trench and worked with a rescued team in an attempt to save the two men who were buried. The son of one of the victims who was operating a backhoe on the site reportedly told WTVM that the workers had to be careful around the thirty foot deep trench because of the lack of retaining walls, composition of the soil and compaction of the soil.

Trenching accidents like the one at this Columbus, GA excavation site often involve serious injuries and fatalities. OSHA safety standards dictate that the width of the trench should be no greater than 15 feet as provided by OSHA Regulation 1926.650. Shield systems also should also be implemented into the excavation site to ensure the trench is able to withstand cave-ins.

During a recent six year period, there were 271 trenching or excavation cave-in fatalities according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Standards laid out by OSHA require safe work practices, proper safety equipment and other protective measures like inspections. Daily inspection of excavations and areas around excavation sites, as well as protective systems are required and must be performed by someone competent in such evaluations. The inspector is required to find evidence of possible cave-ins, indications of failure of protective systems, hazardous atmospheres, or other hazardous conditions that could lead to a potentially fatal Georgia construction accident.

Injuries sustained in a construction trenching accident can result in permanent injury, medical bills, intense physical and emotional suffering, diminished earning capacity, loss of income, and other damages. Possible remedies for injuries suffered in a trench collapse or other construction accident include a worker's compensation claim against one's employer where fault need not be proven. A person injured in a construction accident may also potentially bring a personal injury lawsuit against a third-party, but the fault of the third-party must be established. A personal injury action involving a construction accident also might be a viable option when pursuing damages from third-parties who might be liable, such as the construction site owner, general contractor or sub-contractors, design and engineering professionals, the manufacturer of equipment or machines used at the worksite and others.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years of Experience to Work For You

Our Atlanta Construction Accident Attorneys at Montlick and Associates has been representing injured construction workers in pursuing worker's compensation and personal injury claims for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

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