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Critical tips to prevent a trench collapse

For workers who have to dig trenches or work inside of them on the job, a collapse is one of their biggest concerns. It can happen in a split-second, and workers can be seriously hurt or killed as they're covered with rock, dirt and debris.

How can you keep this from happening? Below are a few tips that can help:

  • Never put any heavy machinery near the trench.
  • Never keep the parts and materials needed for the job right on the edge, even if it seems convenient. They should always get stored at least two feet back, and crews should move them entirely out of the worksite when it gets too cluttered and cramped.
  • A worker who is not actively working on a trench should never stand on the edge of it, putting other workers at risk.
  • After every single storm, even if it only rains a little, the trench needs to be inspected to make sure it is safe before entering.
  • Did you know that the second-most leading reason for fatalities is oxygen deprivation? Make sure that every deep trench has air tests carried out on a regular basis. A "deep" trench is anything that goes deeper than four feet.
  • When moving dirt and other materials out of the trench, keep all piles a minimum of two feet from the edge.
  • Be wary of outside forces. For instance, if heavy machinery is being used somewhere else on the site, the vibrations can lead to a trench collapse.

Have you been injured when a trench caved in on a job? Make sure that you know all of your rights to compensation after the fact in order to protect your family and your future as you recover.

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