NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

A day laborer dies when he is buried in a trench collapse.

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 12CA004, 2013 Jun; :1-9
A day laborer died when he was buried in a trench collapse at a private residence. The homeowner hired day laborers to do construction work at her residence, which included digging trenches along the perimeter of the home for drainage. The trench ranged in depth from 6 to12 feet deep, and measured two feet wide and approximately fifteen feet long. None of the permits required to excavate the trench had been obtained and the trench had not been inspected or shored. The employees were not given any training in trench safety and shoring procedures. Factors that may have contributed to this death were untrained workers in an unshored trench more than five feet deep with unstable soil conditions. The CA/FACE investigator determined that, in order to prevent future incidents: Homeowners who need trenching / excavation work should: 1. Hire contractors who are licensed to perform trenching and excavation work. Contractors licensed to perform trenching should: 1. Ensure that the trench is properly permitted and inspected daily by a competent person to determine all necessary safety precautions. 2. Ensure that trenches five feet deep or greater are properly shored, shielded, or sloped. In addition, employers who hire day laborers to work in a trench /excavation should: 1. Ensure that day laborers are properly trained and understand all the hazards associated with working in a trench / excavation.
Region-9; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Employee-exposure; Accident-prevention; Accident-analysis; Accidents; Construction
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-12CA004; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008468
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Public Health Institute
Page last reviewed: November 12, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division