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Construction worker injured when unsecured trench caves in

California construction workers who work in crews with excavation duties are typically at a high risk. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration regards excavation -- specifically trenches -- as extremely hazardous, but it maintains that cave-ins can be prevented. A construction company in another state was recently added to OSHA's list of severe violators after a trench collapsed and injured a construction worker.

OSHA investigators reported that the company allowed the employee to work in an unsecured trench without a safe way to exit or enter. It was also found that no tests were conducted to ensure atmospheric safety in the presence of sewage spillage, and debris was not cleared from the edge of the trench. When the trench caved in, the worker was reportedly buried under 8 feet of soil. The worker was hospitalized for treatment of the serious injuries that he suffered in this workplace accident.

Some of the citations issued following the trench collapse are for willful violations, and OSHA stated that the company was fully aware of the safety requirements related to safe trenches but chose to disregard it. The company's inclusion in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program will allow OSHA to carry out random inspections to check compliance with safety regulations. This program focuses on companies that demonstrate a continuous disregard for workplace safety.

A California construction worker whose employer's indifference to employee safety has led to a workplace injury can pursue compensation for medical expenses incurred. The workers' compensation insurance system allows workers to file claims for benefits. In addition to covering all medical expenses related to the injury, lost income will also be compensated based on the injured worker's latest wage level.

Source: safetyadvantage.com, "Texas construction company cited for egregious safety violations in trench collapse that hospitalized worker", Aug. 25, 2015

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