Sometimes we write about employers that are fined by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for exposing construction workers to trench hazards. Most of the time, the hazards are discovered before anyone is hurt or killed. Unfortunately, though, OSHA doesn't always catch these safety violations before they cause serious harm.
On Monday, a construction worker was killed in a trench collapse at a job site in Frisco, Texas. The fatal workplace accident occurred just before 4:00 p.m. Firefighters arrived to the scene shortly after, but they were unable to rescue the 31-year-old man who was trapped in the trench. The Allen fire department had to report to the scene as it has possession of the area's trench rescue equipment.
At this point, few details surrounding the accident have been released, but officials did say that construction workers were installing a water line on Main Street when the accident occurred. They said the trench the worker was in unexpectedly caved-in on him and on the cause of the collapse is currently unknown.
OSHA has arrived at the scene and will attempt to uncover the cause, but a full report could take weeks to complete. If it is determined that safety hazards contributed to the trench collapse -- such as improper sloping, shoring or shielding, which protect workers from cave-ins -- the company overseeing the construction could face serious fines and/or liability in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Construction companies have a duty to make sure their job sites are safe and that workers are properly trained for the work they are performing. When employers cut corners and put workers in danger, they are exposing themselves to major liability. Poor lighting, poor training and poor safety precautions are all conditions that could classify a workplace as unsafe.
Source: Star Local News, "Construction accident near Main Street in Frisco results in fatality," Anthony Tosie, Jan. 30, 2013