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What can construction workers do to avoid trench accidents?

Many construction sites have trenches on them. One hopes that all construction companies will do everything they can to keep construction site trenches that they have workers operate in safe. This includes making sure that trenches on their sites have proper protective systems. Methods for making a trench protected include: shoring the trench, shielding the trend, and benching or sloping the ground.

When trenches are unsafe, they could be at a significant risk of collapsing. When a trench collapses when there are workers in it, it could result in the workers getting severely hurt or even dying. Thus, one question a construction worker may have is: what can I do to reduce my chances of being in a trench collapse accident?

We will now go over some trench safety steps construction workers who work in trenches can take.

One is to look to see if a trench has a protective system prior to going into it. If a trench is unprotected, workers should not enter it.

Another is, if a worker finds that the trench is protected, to carefully look over the protective system prior to entering the trench and to keep a look out for if anything seems off with the protective system when working in the trench.

If a worker spots something that doesn't seem right about a trench's protective system, they should promptly leave the trench and report the problem.

Thus, proper vigilance can be a very valuable safety tool for construction workers.

If a California construction worker does end up getting hurt in a trench due to a collapse or some other type of accident, it is important for them to be aware of and understand what legal options and rights they have under state workers' compensation laws. Having a discussion with a workers' compensation attorney may be able to help with this.

Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, "Workplace Solutions - Preventing Worker Deaths from Trench Cave-ins," September 2011

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