Trenches are one of the most dangerous aspects of a construction site. When you carry a heavy load, you might struggle to focus on where you place your feet. Or, due to the load’s bulk, you might be unable to see your feet.
Depending on the trench’s depth, what is inside it and how you land, a fall could do anything from spraining your ankle to killing you. Employers must section them off to prevent anyone from falling in. Yet, it’s not only those passing by the trench that are at risk.
Working inside a trench can also be dangerous. Each year, construction workers are killed or injured when trenches collapse and bury them or when objects fall on top of them from outside the trench.
What should employers do when opening trenches on work sites?
You cannot just dig a hole and expect it to stay open. Trenches require someone with training and knowledge to assess the soil stability and design and install adequate support systems.
They need to account for changes in the weather or unexpected events, such as someone breaking through a water pipe. A trench that is stable when the soil is dry can soon become dangerous when wet.
Aside from assessing trench stability, employers must also understand any beneath-the-ground dangers before asking someone to excavate. Electrocution if power lines are struck or poisoning if toxic gases are released are all possible on some sites.
If you are injured while working on a construction site, you do not need to show your employer was at fault to claim workers’ compensation benefits. Yet, you may still require legal help to get the full amount you are rightfully due.