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Trench Collapse Traps Two Workers in Construction Accident, Kills One

Not all construction accidents occur at the sites of large building projects. Each and every year construction workers are injured and killed at worksites located at residential and other locations. In late December 2020, a trench collapse trapped to men working at a construction site located in front of a private residence in Rapid City, South Dakota. Rapid City Fire Department personnel were dispatched to the accident scene, arriving shortly after what proved to be a deadly trench collapse.

Specific facts about the cause of the Rapid City construction site accident remain murky. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, has commenced an investigation into the trench collapse that killed one man and left another trapped in a dirt pile. The man who survived the trench collapse was submerged up to his chest. He was determined to be physically uninjured as a result of the accident.

Although physically injured immediately after the trench collapse, the reality is that this type of construction accident can result in long term injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. In addition, a worker can end up afflicted with long-term physical injuries that do not manifest themselves until a period of time following the incident itself.

The construction worker killed at the site was completely submerged. Rescue workers spent five hours digging to recover the deceased worker at the construction site. The names of neither worker have yet been released to the press or public.

As mentioned a moment ago, an investigation is underway as to what caused the trench collapse at the Rapid City construction site. A couple of days after the incident, OSHA investigators are still unable to answer some basic questions about the accident. These include how the trench collapse occurred and how the pair of construction workers ended up trapped in the dirt. There even remains a lack of clarity as to exactly what the men were doing at the accident scene.

Trench collapses are among the 10 most commonplace types of construction site accidents, as explained by Jimmy Doan, President of the nationwide Doan Law Firm. Doan noted that the 10 most frequently occurring construction site accidents in the United States are:

  • Falls from scaffolding or from high levels at a construction site
  • Slips and falls
  • Electrocutions
  • Falling objects, debris, or objects
  • Trapped between objects, materials, or equipment
  • Trench collapse
  • Explosions and fires
  • Overexertion
  • Machinery accidents
  • Struck by a vehicle

According to OSHA, in 2019 trench collapses were the sixth leading cause of construction site accidents in the United States, including fatal ones. Because of the fact that trench collapses are a major cause of construction site injuries and deaths, OSHA explored why these incidents occur. OSHA’s research reveals that the most commonplace causes of construction site accidents involving trench collapses are:

  • Failure to provide a ladder or other proper means of entering and exiting a trench, resulting in 396 OSHA citations (34%)
  • Placing spoil too close to a trench where rock and dirt could fall in on employees, resulting in 330 citations (28%)
  • Failure to provide daily inspections of excavations, resulting in 302 citations (26%)
  • Failure by the designated competent person on the jobsite to protect workers from potential cave-in, resulting in 106 citations (9%)
  • Hazards created by water accumulating in a trench, resulting in 49 citations (4%)

If you or a loved on have been injured in a construction accident involving a trench collapse (including a family that has been killed), the skilled, experienced legal team at The Doan Law Firm stands ready to fight for your important legal rights. We established a 24-hour construction accident lawyer hotline at (800) 349-0000 that is open 365 days a year, including all major holidays.

We can schedule an initial consultation and case evaluation with a construction accident lawyer at any one of our 40 offices in the U.S.A. or a virtual appointment online. There is no charge and no obligation for an initial consultation with a Doan Law Firm construction accident attorney.

The Doan Law Firm makes an attorney fee promise to you. We will never charge you an attorney fee unless we win your case for you. Our legal team is committed to fighting tirelessly to win bid for you.

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