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OSHA Releases New Information about Trench-Related Work Accidents in Massachusetts, Nation

Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys recently discussed the dangers that workers face who work with, in and around wells. Trenching employees face some of the similar dangers as well employees. Both sets of workers face high risks for serious accidents if the proper safety precautions are not taken.
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Officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are talking about the dangers that workers face in trenching operations as well. As a matter of fact, the Administration recently released three new guidance sheets that are filled with tools and tips to help these workers to stay safe on the job.

Workers who spend their day in trenches face the most risks for fatal accidents within the construction industry. There have been more than 200 employees who have died in trench-related cave-ins since 2003. Hundreds more workers have been injured in trench-related work accidents in Massachusetts and elsewhere.

“No worker’s life should end in a trench,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

Cave-ins are some of the worst and most horrifying causes of death within the construction industry. Still, these gruesome accidents are some of the most preventable. This new guidance material is aimed at preventing some of these tragic accidents. Through the new material, employers and employees can educate themselves to take the proper precautionary steps to protect everyone working near trenches.

Information provided through the guidance includes:

-An updated fact sheet about the dangers that can be present when working in trenches. The sheet also provides a list of safety measures that are required to be used to protect these workers.

-A new QuickCard will be included to be referenced as a simple guide of safety measures and trenching hazards. The card will include graphics to provide a clear picture to workers and employers.

-A poster to place in dangerous areas that will alert workers and others to keep away will be included in the new guidance as well. This poster is to help remind workers that safety measures need to be taken to avoid a potentially fatal accident.

Here are some general excavation and trenching rules:

-Make sure that heavy equipment is kept away from the edges of trenches.

-Keep an eye out for other things that could possibly affect a trench’s stability.

-Keep spoils and other items at least three feet away from the edges of a trench,

-Make sure to locate any underground utility wires or pipes before digging a trench.

-Make sure that tests have been conducted to locate atmospheric hazards, like low oxygen, toxic gases or hazardous fumes when the trench is at least 4-feet deep.

-Make sure that all trenches have been inspected before the beginning of all shifts.

-Always inspect a trench after its rains or after any other form of water intrusion.

-Never work underneath a raised or suspended load when inside a trench.

If you, a loved one or a family member has been injured on the job in Boston or the surrounding areas, contact a workers’ compensation attorney at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC to help you sort out the complexities of the case. For a free appointment to discuss your claim, call 1-877-617-5333.

More Blog Entries:

Boston Injured Workers Filing a Claim Should Contact an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Law Firm, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, September 13, 2011

Final Count for Workplace Fatalities Could Rise for 2010, Injured Workers in Boston Should Contact Experienced Law Firm, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, September 12, 2011