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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 96CA007, 1996 Oct; :1-4
A 27-year old male laborer (victim) died after being trapped in soil over his head as a result of a trench that caved-in. The victim was digging out the bottom of the trench in order to expose an existing drain pipe. On one side of the trench was a retaining wall and the other side was a dirt wall which was part of a hillside. He and another laborer were piling the dirt on the hillside above the east wall of the trench. Later the other laborer pulled up buckets filled by the decedent with the spoils placing them on the hillside above the trench wall as well as on the south side of the excavation. The trench wall that collapsed was not shored or otherwise protected from earth movement. The soil had been previously disturbed in the area of the trench. There was no competent person to check the soil and excavation at the site and no initial hazard assessment was performed. The victim received no training from the company for whom he worked. 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 is loading due to stored materials. 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; Safety-personnel; Training
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-96CA007; 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: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division