Many kinds of work environments present dangers to the worker, and certainly some present greater dangers than others. If you are a worker who regularly interacts with trenches on the worksite, maintaining your own safety is of the utmost importance. Regulations provide a number of standards that must be met for worksites that feature trenches or excavation, and offer some specific safety precautions for workers who must interact with them.

For most workers who must deal with excavation and trenches, the most clear and present danger is presented by the potential for a cave-in. A cave-in that occurs around or on top of a worker can have catastrophic or even fatal results. Other risks may include raised loads that might fall on workers, dangers involving large equipment common in excavation, or the potential to fall a significant distance. All of these dangers may lead to serious injury or death, and should be taken very seriously by workers at the job site.

For workers who are concerned about their safety, there are some important steps they can take to increase their safety. For instance, it is important to never enter into an unprotected trench or other dangerous work area without wearing proper safety equipment. Depending on the dimensions of the trench or excavations, various protective systems are appropriate and must implemented by a registered professional engineer. Furthermore, regulations require that a trench must be visually inspected every day by a “competent person” who can identify dangerous elements and recommend appropriate remedies if an issue arises.

Staying safe on the worksite starts with you and your commitment to keeping yourself out of unreasonable danger. However, there are many ways that your safety may be out of your control. Terrible accidents can still happen to those who take all the appropriate measures to ensure their own safety. If you have been injured on a worksite, you deserve to have your experience professionally evaluated to determine if you may be eligible for compensation. An experienced attorney can help you explore your options for compensation and ensure that your rights remain protected while you do so.

Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration, “Trenching and Excavation Safety,” accessed Jan. 12, 2017