Trenches are dangerous, but many companies and workers continue to deny it. Or their actions make it seem like they do, at least. There’s never an excuse to let someone into a hole if it hasn’t been properly sloped, benched, or shored. Nevertheless, dozens of construction workers are killed and injured by trench collapses every year.
Last week, In Warren, Michigan, a 37 year old construction worker entered a trench towards the end of his shift in order to make a repair, according to WDIV Local News Detroit. Shortly after jumping down, without having the “proper equipment,” he found himself stuck in the hole and the walls then collapsed around him. The man was still able to breath, at that point, as he was only partially buried, but still unable to free himself.
WDIV reported that when emergency crews arrived on-site, another wall of the trench collapsed, which completely covered the man. The crews were able to give the man an oxygen mask and hook him up to an IV as they worked on shoring up the walls to start removing the dirt. In total, the rescue took around two hours and the man was then transferred to the hospital. His current condition is unknown and officials told WDIV that there’s a possibility he could lose some limbs, because of the weight of the soil cutting off blood circulation for so long.
WDIV filmed the final hour of the rescue, which you can watch via their Facebook page below. The man was pulled out of the trench around the 50-minute mark.
Full Story: Construction worker rescued from trench after hours underground at Warren construction site | WDIV Local News Detroit
Multi-employer worksites are extremely common in the construction industry, but they can still make work extremely complicated. One of those complications results when a subcontractor receives a governmental violation, such as an OSHA violation. As a controlling employer on the site, can a general contractor be held responsible for safety hazards of a subcontractor? One court says yes.
After an abundance of delays on rule that would require crane operators to be formally qualified to operate, OSHA finally landed on an effective date of February 7, 2019. After receiving feedback from industry partners, OSHA has decided to delay enforcement for 60 days for contractors who make a “good faith effort” to comply.
As has been expected for a few months now, OSHA has officially removed the requirement for large companies with 250 or more employees to submit OSHA Forms 300 and 301. The administration cited privacy concerns as the reason for the change.
Be careful - owners and contractors are now being held criminally liable for their carelessness and disregard of safety protocols.
Since the 2016 Federal budget was passed, OSHA has increased their maximum citation penalty amount to adjust for inflation on a yearly basis. The 2019 increase has recently been announced.
Last November, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced felonious assault charges against a contractor’s superintendent and a manufacturer’s branch manager after two men suffered horrific injuries on a New York jobsite. Last week, OSHA formally announced citations against the St. Louis, Missouri based contractor.
After an uptick in construction industry fatalities in 2016, a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that both the amount of construction worker deaths and the rate of fatality dropped in 2017.
At the National Safety Council Congress & Expo on October 23, 2018, OSHA’s deputy director of Directorate of Enforcement Programs, Patrick Kapust, announced their 10 most frequesntly cited safety violations for their fiscal year 2018.
On March 15, 2018, 6 people were killed and 8 others were injured when an under construction pedestrian bridge collapsed in Florida. Several months later, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released their preliminary report while conducting an official investigation. The NTSB later issued an “Investigative Update” to their preliminary report in August. In Mid-November, the NTSB released a 2nd investigative update, narrowing their root cause theories.