The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is likely not an unheard of entity to you if you have worked in the construction sector in the last 45 years or so. The organization has been on-site to evaluate safety measures and precautions taken to ensure the protection of construction and industrial workers and can issue violations for companies failing to do so. Part of the job is investigating after accidents as well. The administration currently utilizes monetary fines and public statements intended to shame the companies that are not providing adequate precaution.
And yet, after review of OSHA findings regarding the follow-up from accident investigation as well as routine inspections, companies throughout southwestern Pennsylvania are demonstrating a startling disregard for protective protocol when it comes to the highly dangerous job of trench work. Not only this, but companies are also failing to remedy situations after violations occur.
Trench work is a necessary component on a variety of construction sites. Water lines, sewer lines and even power lines are being run underground now and soil conditions can vary dramatically, making a standard safety protocol difficult. Different soil types mean different degrees of slope to protect workers from being buried, should the trench walls give way. Since a cubic yard of soil can weigh upward of 3 tons, if a worker is not encased in a trench box built to hold up to the specific conditions of that days soil and trench work, the outcome after a trench wall caving in could be absolutely devastating.
If you were injured in a trench collapse or if you lost a loved one who went to do a job and did not return, you may be incensed to find the company overseeing the project knew of the dangers and did not provide proper precaution and adequate protection because it was simply a nuisance. You have cause for relief and a construction accident attorney in the Pittsburgh area may be able to pursue the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on physical recover, if possible and emotional recovery in time.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Do firms neglect trench dangers?” Daniel Moore, May 8, 2016