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Construction worker buried alive in trench collapse

Construction workers in California are exposed to the same hazards as those in other states. According to statistics, more than 800 construction workers lost their lives in work-related accidents across the country in 2014. A significant number of these deaths happened on construction sites at which excavation of trenches took place. In a recent incident in another state, a worker died in a trench collapse.

Officials reported that the incident occurred on a recent Saturday morning. The report indicates that workers were digging to locate the sewer system at a construction site when the trench caved in. One worker was buried alive, and he died before he could be extricated.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation into the accident. The agency says construction accidents involving excavation are not uncommon, and the activity that poses the highest risk of causing fatalities is trench collapses. Federal safety regulations require employers to take several precautions to prevent trenches from caving in. These include benching or sloping of the walls of excavations at specific angles and supporting the sides to prevent cave-ins. A shield must also be placed between the work area and the edge of the excavation.

A California family who has to cope with the various challenges brought about by the unexpected death of a loved one in a workplace accident such as a trench collapse may find some financial relief through the workers' compensation insurance system. Surviving family members may pursue death benefits claims that will cover funeral costs, financial obligations and day-to-day expenses in the time following the death of their loved one. The financial package to cover lost income is typically based on the decedent's most recent wage level.

Source: news.worksafedocs.com, "Man killed in Cypress trench collapse", Stephen Kariahe, Feb. 17, 2016

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