Preventing trench collapses

Preventing trench collapses

Safety+Health Magazine

Workers caught in trench collapses rarely survive because soil can be extremely heavy. A cubic yard of soil can weigh up to 3,000 pounds – roughly the weight of a small motor vehicle, according to OSHA.

In 2016, 23 workers died and 12 others were injured in trench collapses, the agency notes. However, trench deaths and injuries are preventable.

Not worth the risk

Entering an unprotected or insufficiently protected trench means putting your life at risk, NIOSH warns, as trenches give no warning that they’re going to collapse.

Why do trench collapses occur? NIOSH cites numerous potential factors, including soil type and water content, environmental conditions, proximity to previously backfilled excavations, weight of heavy equipment or tools, and vibrations from machines and motor vehicles that can affect soil stability…(Read the full story)

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