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What risks do construction site trenches pose?

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2024 | Construction accidents

If you work in construction, you will likely encounter a lot of trenches. Companies dig these for a variety of reasons, and they must do all they can to reduce the risks they pose to workers and anyone else who might pass through the site.

Understanding the risks yourself is crucial, as employers can sometimes miss safety measures.

Trench collapse

When you dig a hole in the ground, it leaves the earth around the site less stable. The natural tendency is for soil to want to fall into the hole. If you are inside when it does, you could quickly die from suffocation. Speak up if you are unhappy with the support in place to stop the trench from collapsing. While it is your employer’s responsibility to make sure the trench is safe and remains safe, it is your life on the line.

Employers also need to limit access to the area around the trench as footfall or machinery passing close by could increase the chance of a collapse. Rain or a water pipe bursting could also increase the chance of collapse.

A place for people or things to fall into

An open hole in the ground is a major hazard. Employers must use barriers, tape and signs to let people know the hole is there. They should also assess the risk of things rolling into it and crushing those working inside.

Toxic gasses released by the excavation

There are a lot of nasty substances locked in the ground. Excavating a site could cause the release of a harmful gas that poisons workers inside the trench. Employers must conduct research and carry out appropriate testing.

Construction trench injuries could leave you unable to work, so it’s important to learn how to claim workers’ compensation if affected.