Oregon Employee Buried Alive

An Oregon accident left an employee dead and the company for which he worked searching for answers and a way to prevent future accidents.

Two employees for an unnamed Oregon company were excavating a buried irrigation pipeline for an agricultural operation. One employee was operating a backhoe to unearth concrete vaults in a trench 35 feet long, 14 feet wide, and 14 feet deep. The second employee entered the trench to remove soil remaining around the pipeline and vault.

While the second employee was in the trench, one side of the trench collapsed on the worker. The backhoe operator attempted to rescue the worker by use of the backhoe bucket and a hand shovel, but was unable to do so. Instead, he drove the backhoe several miles for help. The buried worker died before rescuers could extract him.

Officials say that the excavation was neither shored nor sloped. In addition, the excavation dirt was stored at the edge of the trench, increasing the weight on the bank and increasing the potential for collapse. Neither employee was reportedly provided instruction about adequate shoring.

In addition, the victim had never worked on an excavation project and had not been trained on excavation hazards. No emergency medical plan or communication equipment was provided for workers at the remote work site.

Excavation workers have enough risks without adding to the risk by lack of training. Workers know some of the risks. But adding to those risks by individual negligence or under-training employees increases the on-the-job danger tremendously.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a workplace accident, The Doan Law Firm, P.C., led by Houston personal injury attorney Jimmy Doan, has extensive experience in worker's compensation and employee litigation. ContactThe Doan Law Firm, P.C. at 1 Riverway, Suite 1700, Houston, Texas 77056, (713) 869-4747 or (800) 910-FIRM

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