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Worker dies in excavation collapse in Arizona.
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 85-13, 1985 Apr; :1-4
A fatal accident circumstance and epidemiology report on an excavation accident is presented. The report is part of a NIOSH project in which data on fatal accidents occurring in confined spaces or those involving electrocutions is collected. On March 25, 1985, two construction workers were shoveling loose dirt from the bottom of an unshored 21 foot deep manhole excavation. The excavation was at the end of a 5 foot wide trench that had been excavated and backfilled about 3 weeks before. While shoveling, the workers noticed earth materials beginning to fall from a corner wall. As the workers started to leave the site, an upper corner of the excavation gave way and buried one worker. The other worker who had gotten clear of the falling material unsuccessfully tried to dig him out. A fire rescue team arrived and dug him out. Life support measures were instituted. Approximately 15 to 30 minutes later, the victim was evacuated to a trauma center, but died during surgery 6 hours later. Factors contributing to the accident included the lack of a written company policy regarding safe work procedures during excavations, not using personal protective equipment, and vibrations originating from a nearby railroad track and city street. Recommendations include having a written safety policy and providing shoring devices or sloping the excavation to a safe angle.
NIOSH-Author; Construction-industry; Accident-potential; Hazardous-materials; Safety-measures; Industrial-safety; Workers; Safety-equipment; Toxic-effects; Workplace-studies; Region-9; FACE-85-13; 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