According to a recent news feature from the Cambridge Patch, a construction worker was injured when he was approximately 30 feet at the bottom of an underground trench in Cambridge. Authorities say the man was lowered to the bottom of this deep trench in the ground and was there to help guide workers as they were using a crane to lower a large beam into the trench.
For reasons that are not entirely clear at this time, the workers lost control of this beam as it was being lowered, and it cut the man’s leg. As a result of the cut he was bleeding profusely and was unable to climb out of the trench on the ladder that had been lowered for him. Had this accident not occurred, he was expected to use the same ladder to get out of the trench once the beam was secured.
When workers at ground level realized that the man was injured and could not climb out of the trench, they called 911 and alerted the emergency operator to the situation. Since this was not an everyday accident, first responders called for a special rescue unit from the local fire department.
When the rescue squad first arrived on the scene, they sent someone down to the bottom of the trench on a repelling line to make sure the I-beam was not crushing the man’s leg. Once they confirmed that he was not trapped under the beam, they were able to work on his leg and stop the bleeding.
At this point, they lowered a series ropes down into the trench and then brought them up with a system of pulleys to lift the injured worker out of the trench. Once the worker was back safely at street level, EMTs were able to check his vitals and make sure he was stable for transport. Once they were satisfied he was ready for transport, they took him to a local level-one trauma center for treatment for his injuries. One of the reasons workplace accidents involving the legs are dangerous is that, in addition to bone and muscle, there are large arteries and nerve bundles that can affect the entire body. Damage to one of these structures in the leg can result in serious personal injury or even death and must be repaired as quickly as possible to prevent blood loss and other damage.
The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has decided to conduct a full investigation into the cause of this serious Boston workplace accident. This is routine in many cases and does not mean there was any negligence on behalf of the employer, but they want to determine if the worker was otherwise safe while at the bottom of this deep trench cut into the street in Cambridge. They were also determining why the beam was being lowered when there was not a clear view of the man at the bottom of trench. It should be noted that there have been no violations found at this time by OSHA or any other agency.
If you or someone you love has been injured a Boston work accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.
Firefighters Rescue Injured Cambridge Construction Worker, September 8, 2016, By Allison Bauter, Cambridge Patch
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Scope of Employment in Workers’ Compensation Cases, March 29, 2016, Boston Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog