It's been very rainy in Ohio this spring -- and that poses special dangers for construction workers who are excavating or digging in trenches.
Trench work is an exhausting part of the construction process -- but highly necessary for many crews when they're laying or repairing pipes. At any given moment, however, workers have to take into account the site's proximity to other areas, the vibration and movement of vehicles and machinery nearby, the type of soil they're working in and -- of course -- the amount of water content in that soil.
Excessive rain makes trench work especially hazardous. Once water gets into an existing trench, the trench has to be pumped before work can begin, but, even then, the soil can remain slippery. In addition, if a collapse happens, the additional weight of the water could make digging out a trapped worker impossible.
To maximize your safety in wet weather when working in or around a construction trench, remember these tips:
- Nobody should enter the trench until it has passed a daily safety inspection.
- If a trench has to be pumped, sufficient drying time needs to be allowed for the soil to be safe.
- Keep all electrical equipment away from any pooled water (even small puddles).
- Avoid driving, walking or working near the trenches (so that you avoid triggering a cave in or slipping in yourself).
- Make sure trenches are adequately supported with safety structures, boards and other methods of securing the walls against slides.
A trench collapse can cause devastating injuries. If you were injured in a trench collapse or a loved one was killed, you may be entitled to financial compensation that will help your family recover. Find out more about your legal options.