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Hispanic laborer dies as a result of a trench collapse.

Michigan State University
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 06MI174, 2008 Jun; :1-11
On October 24, 2006, a 29-year-old male Hispanic laborer who was installing water service lines for a newly constructed residential home foundation was killed when a trench wall collapsed. The decedent was one of two laborers working in a nearly vertical, "L"-shaped excavation that was 50 feet long, 9 feet deep, 7 feet wide on top and 6 feet 6 inches wide at the bottom. The work consisted of laying schedule 40, 4-inch pipe from the water/sewer main near the street to the home. The decedent was assigned to dig under the footing near the basement while his coworker was laying pipe near the street. There were no trench boxes. The decedent's coworker heard the south corner of the wall collapse and ran to the decedent's location. He found him under a large chunk of dirt that collapsed from the south corner. The heavy equipment operator told the coworker to call the company. He did so, and the company representative instructed him to call 911. He called 911. Prior to emergency response arrival, a nearby landscape worker heard a call for help and entered the trench with the decedent's coworker to move the dirt chunk from the decedent. The excavator was close enough that the heavy equipment operator used the bucket to dig around the decedent. Emergency response arrived. While attempting rescue, the south wall collapsed again. The decedent was declared dead at the scene. Recommendations: 1. Employers should ensure that employees working in excavations are protected from cave-in by an adequate protection system such as shoring, sloping or a trench box designed in accordance with MIOSHA Construction Safety Standard, Part 9, Excavation, Trenching, and Shoring, R408.40941. 2. Employers should ensure that a qualified person inspects the excavation, adjacent areas, and supporting systems on an ongoing basis and that the qualified person ensures the appropriate measures necessary to protect workers are followed. 3. Employers should provide workers with training in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the required safe work practices that apply to their work environments. 4. Employers should develop a trench emergency action plan that describes rescue and medical duties and ensure that all employees are knowledgeable of those procedures. 5. Employers should periodically evaluate its organizational commitment and leadership in regards to its safety program. 6. Employers should ensure that employee performance reviews include adherence to measurable safety and health criteria. 7. Employers should institute a Health and Safety (H&S) committee as part of their health and safety program. 8. Employers should take advantage of on-site consultation services provided by MIOSHA Consultation Education and Training Division and trade organizations to improve worksite safety and health. 9. Emergency medical services and fire-rescue personnel should be knowledgeable about proper rescue techniques involving excavation sites and ensure that adequate shoring equipment is on hand at all times. 10. Emergency medical service companies and fire-rescue departments providing first response should consider providing technical rescue operation training, such as trench rescue training to their personnel. 11. The State of Michigan's Office of Fire Fighter Training should partner with existing organizations that provide trench rescue training to fire fighters as a part of their "Rescue" curriculum.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Traumatic-injuries; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Work-performance; Safety-education; Safety-monitoring; Safety-programs; Training; Work-operations; Work-areas; Safety-equipment; Safety-engineering; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Excavation-equipment; Safety-personnel; Emergency-responders; Education
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-06MI174; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008466
Priority Area
Wholesale and Retail Trade; Services
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Michigan State University
Page last reviewed: December 17, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division