Construction Worker Dies in Detroit Trench Collapse
Excavation and trenching are among the most hazardous jobs to have while working on a construction site. These tasks require contractors to be in compliance with all construction zone hazards to keep workers safe. Knowing this, it makes it very hard for us to see the recent news of a construction worker death in Sterling Heights. Emergency personnel tried to recover the worker after being trapped in a trench collapse, but it was too late. The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA), which investigates workplace accidents, was called to the scene as many circumstances surrounding the incident, including if the trench was or was not supported, weren’t immediately clear. Trench collapses cause dozens of fatalities and hundreds of injuries each year.
Under Michigan law, general contractors and all sub-contractors are required to provide a reasonably safe site, to warn of hazards, to hire careful employees, to coordinate job safety, and to supervise compliance. Fire Chief Chris Martin told news reporters that it appeared the 18 feet long by 11 feet deep trench was not properly supported or shored up. No other information was immediately available.
The workplace injury and wrongful death team at The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg is sending our thoughts and prayers to the worker’s family and coworkers.
Worker Fatalities High for Trench Work Jobs
OSHA defines an excavation as, “any man-made cut, cavity, trench, or depression in the earth’s surface formed by earth removal.” A trench is defined as, “a narrow underground excavation that is deeper than it is wide and is no wider than 15 feet (4.5 meters).”
The greatest risk to construction workers in trench work jobs are cave-ins or collapses which are much more likely than other excavation related accidents to result in worker fatalities. If you work in a construction zone, follow these general trenching (and excavation) rules provide by MIOSHA.
- Keep heavy equipment away from trench edges.
- Keep surcharge loads at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) from trench edges.
- Know where underground utilities are located.
- Test for low oxygen, hazardous fumes and toxic gases.
- Inspect trenches at the start of each shift.
- Inspect trenches following a rainstorm.
- Do not work under raised loads.
- Never enter an unprotected trench.
- Design protective systems that consider soil and load factors.
- Have safe access to all excavations for employees working in trenches 4 feet (1.22 meters) or deeper.
If a loved one has been killed in a work site trench collapse, it is essential you contact a Michigan wrongful death lawyer to make sure the right amount of benefits and compensation are being administered.
Wrongful Death Caused by Construction Accidents
Wrongful deaths caused by construction jobs are a special type of case that demands the attention of specialized legal professionals, such as us. The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg are Michigan’s construction accident experts, with a history of representing construction workers and their families for over 40 years.
Let our Michigan construction accident attorneys help you and fight for the compensation your family deserves. Please call 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form so we can answer any questions you may have about who may be responsible for a Michigan work site accident.