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A Day Laborer Dies When He is Buried in a Trench Collapse

California Case Report: 12CA004

The following report is the product of our Cooperative State partner and is presented here in its original unedited form from the state. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the individual Cooperative State partner and do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


A day laborer died when he was buried in a trench collapse at a private residence. The homeowner hired day laborers to do construction work at her residence, which included digging trenches along the perimeter of the home for drainage. The trench ranged in depth from 6 to12 feet deep, and measured two feet wide and approximately fifteen feet long. None of the permits required to excavate the trench had been obtained and the trench had not been inspected or shored. The employees were not given any training in trench safety and shoring procedures. Factors that may have contributed to this death were untrained workers in an unshored trench more than five feet deep with unstable soil conditions.

A Day Laborer Dies When He is Buried in a Trench Collapse [PDF 334 KB]