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Safety for trenching and excavation projects

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2016 | Workplace Injuries

The risk of a cave-in is a serious concern for a New Jersey company that specializes in trenching and excavation projects. Failing to meet OSHA standards can result in serious penalties for an employer, especially if an accident occurs that harms or kills workers. There are certain areas of focus that are especially important for minimizing the risks in this dangerous profession.

Some worker injuries on excavation or trenching projects can occur because of problems with safety equipment. It is important to have proper respiratory equipment for workers who will enter areas with poor oxygen levels or toxic materials in the air. It is equally important to test these conditions prior to sending a worker into such an area. Workers in or near the area of a project could be at risk if utility lines are contacted by equipment. Contacting utility companies in advance of activity on a site could help in identifying the areas of greatest concern.

The area created through the removal of material can be dangerous, but the materials removed can also pose risks. Retaining walls may prevent the excavated materials from collapsing back into a trench or pit, and an appropriate distance between the project and the location of a spoil-pile should be maintained. Access to a work area should involve durable equipment with safe surfaces. Earthen access solutions may be acceptable as long as a worker can enter and exit in an upright position.

A construction project could be affected by unanticipated incidents such as an earthquake or an unusual storm. Workers could be injured in spite of excellent safety practices, but the company’s workers’ compensation insurance should still cover on-the-job accidents and injuries. An attorney can often be of assistance to an injured victim whose claim for benefits is disputed or denied.