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22 Year old construction worker dies when excavation collapses.
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 85-10, 1985 Mar; :1-8
A fatal accident circumstances and epidemiology report is presented. The report is part of a NIOSH project in which data on accidents involving electrocutions or those occurring in confined spaces is collected. On February 28, 1985, a 22 year old worker was hand digging a dry well at a house when one wall of the approximately 8 feet deep excavation collapsed trapping him beneath 6 feet of earth. When the collapse occurred the victim was working alone. The owner of the house where the victim was working notified the fire department that the excavation had caved in and the worker was not in sight. The fire department responded and recovered the body from the excavation. The county medical examiner attributed the worker's death to mechanical impairment of respiration (suffocation). Factors contributing to the accident were the lack of an established, documented safety program, inexperience of the general contractor and worker in shallow excavation work, lack of safeguards to protect the worker, use of hand digging, and working alone. Recommendations include developing a safety program, using shoring in such excavations, and having another person standing by to respond or seek help in case of an emergency.
NIOSH-Author; Construction-industry; Soil-analysis; Case-studies; Safety-measures; Soil-sampling; Safety-research; Construction; Workers; Region-4; FACE-85-10; Construction-Search
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division