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38 Year-old construction laborer dies when trench walls collapse.

Kentucky Department of Health Services
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 03KY107, 2004 Nov; :1-5
On November 3, 2003, a 38-year-old male construction laborer died when the unprotected 8-foot high walls of the trench he was working in collapsed. The decedent was working for a subcontractor who was contracted by a construction company to remove old gas, storm and sanitary sewer lines and install similar new lines. The old abandoned 6-inch diameter gas line was a high pressure, 300 - 320 psi gas line in 10-inch steel casing and was 600 feet long. There were five employees at the job site employed by the subcontractor; a foreman who was a certified competent person, a lab technician who was a certified competent person, and 3 laborers (one of which was the decedent). The foreman had dug an 8-foot deep trench with a track hoe to expose the abandoned gas line. After the gas line was exposed, the 38-year-old laborer climbed into the trench with a saw to cut through the gas pipe and its casing. The sides of the trench were not shored or benched. As the laborer began sawing, the sides of the trench collapsed, burying him. He was declared dead at the scene by the local coroner. To prevent further occurrences of a similar occupational fatality, the following recommendations have been made: 1. Employers and employees should not take shortcuts. 2. Employers should train employees on safe work practices and how to recognize and avoid unsafe work conditions. 3. Employers should train employees working in excavations on use of appropriate protective equipment.
Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Work-practices; Region-4; Construction; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Work-areas; Work-environment; Work-operations
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-03KY107; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-409879
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Kentucky Department of Health Services
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division