Many Texans have jobs on construction sites that involve trenching and excavation. It is important that both employees and their employers understand the risks of working in trenches and take steps to minimize the dangers.
When trench walls cave in, workers inside may be crushed by the weight of the dirt and suffocate. Employers are mandated by OSHA to have wall protection systems installed in trenches. These systems are designed to prevent cave-ins from happening. After they are in place, a designated safety worker who has been appropriately trained should inspect the trenches and the wall protection systems every day to look for problems.
Another hazard is when employees dump dirt piles from the trenches too close to the trench opening. This can result in a couple of problems. First, the weight of the additional dirt may cause the nearby trench wall to collapse. Second, equipment used to dump dirt on the pile may overturn and fall into the trench. Maintaining a safe distance from existing trenches for dirt piles is a simple way to prevent these dangers. Also, employers need to have a safe method for their workers to get in and out of trenches to prevent falls from happening.
Despite all precautions, the construction industry can be hazardous, and workplace injuries will continue to take place. Many Texas employers obtain workers’ compensation insurance coverage in order to provide benefits to their employees in the event that they are injured on the job or contract an occupational disease. An attorney who has experience with these matters can describe the types of benefits that may be available.