It was seemingly a typical workday back in February of this year for the 42-year-old man who worked in Mount Sinai as a gravedigger for the Washington Memorial Park cemetery. The worker had climbed inside the seven-foot-deep grave to level its bottom in anticipation of a later funeral.
Without warning, the walls of the grave collapsed, burying the man under countless pounds of heavy earth. Even though nearby co-workers rushed over and attempted frantically to dig him out, their efforts were fruitless. The man died at the scene.
Trench collapses claim lives
As in all cases of trench collapse, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) authorities investigated the man’s needless death. But this incident was sadly only the latest in a long list of workers who lost their lives in similar ways in recent years.
According to statistics supplied by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in the years between 2011 and 2018, there were 203 fatalities associated with the collapse of trenches, channels, ditches and other excavations.
Most trench collapse deaths are entirely preventable
Some fatal incidents that occur on jobs are almost unavoidable. However, trench collapses are rarely one of them. By taking the proper safety steps to shore up the sides of the excavation, making sure that no heavy equipment is parked in proximity to the excavation areas and performing daily visual checks of the trenches, many of these injuries and deaths from trench collapses can be completely avoided.
Seek legal guidance after workplace injuries
If you were injured on the job, an experienced workplace injury attorney can assist you with obtaining the most value for your claim.