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Laborer dies in trench cave-in in California.

Public Health Institute
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 95CA017, 1996 May; :1-5
A 51-year old Hispanic male laborer (victim) died after being trapped in soil up to his neck as a result of a trench that caved-in. The victim was digging out the bottom of the trench in order to lay a pipe. There was water in the bottom of the trench from ground water collection. No trench box was used and the trench was not shored, benched or sloped. The soil had been previously disturbed and no initial hazard assessment had been done. The victim and another laborer who was in the trench noticed that the wall was collapsing and were running for the ladder at the end of the trench when the west wall caved-in. The CA/FACE investigator concluded that, in order to prevent future occurrences, employers should: 1. Assure that the sides of all excavations are shored, laid back to a stable slope, or provided with other equivalent protection where employees may be exposed to moving ground or cave-ins. 2. Have a competent person frequently inspect excavations in which the soil was previously disturbed or where there are variations in the moisture content of the soil, loading due to equipment or stored materials, or vibration from equipment or traffic. 3. Train employees, including periodic refresher training, to be aware of and understand the hazards of the job. 4. Perform an initial hazard assessment of the job prior to beginning work and when there is a situation change that presents different hazards.
Region-9; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Protective-equipment; Training; Construction-workers; Safety-personnel; Construction; Construction-industry
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-95CA017; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-907284
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Public Health Institute
Page last reviewed: February 3, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division