19-Year-Old Construction Laborer Crushed in Trench Collapse While Laying Sewage Pipe, Kentucky
Kentuck Case Report: 15KY031
Release Date: May 31, 2016
On Thursday, June 11, 2015, a 19-year-old construction laborer (the victim), a construction foreman, and three other construction laborers were in a parking lot laying sewage pipe in a trench. The trench measured a depth of 12 feet 2 inches and covered an area of 5 feet by 48 feet. A trench box measuring 8 feet deep and covering an area of 2 feet 1 inch by 16 feet had been placed into the trench. The trench box walls were 4 feet 2 inches too short and left the construction laborers vulnerable to a large section of the spoil pile and concrete above. The two construction laborers were laying sewage pipe in the trench for approximately 6 hours when an above section of the spoil pile and concrete gave way, dumping the majority of the spoil pile into the trench, burying the victim and trapping the other construction laborer from the waist down. Three construction laborers outside the trench witnessed the incident and immediately contacted Emergency Medical Services at 2:22 pm. While waiting for the EMS to arrive, a worker climbed into the trench and began clearing the debris in an attempt to free the construction laborers. EMS and a special trench rescue team arrived at the scene within eight minutes, at 2:30 pm, to begin the rescue and recovery process. The trapped second construction laborer was alert, calm, and responsive throughout the extraction process, while the victim showed no signs of verbal responsiveness and was entirely covered by debris. The trapped second construction laborer was extracted after four and a half hours and transported to a local hospital for treatment, while the victim required two additional hours of extraction and was pronounced dead at the scene.