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Being below grade is as dangerous as heights in construction work

On Behalf of | Apr 7, 2024 | Construction Injuries |

When evaluating dangerous construction work, a job performed at an elevation might seem particularly risky. After all, falls have long been one of the top causes of worker fatalities in the construction sector.

An employee who loses their balance or gets struck by falling objects might fall, leading to severe or fatal injuries. Companies often have to take certain steps to ensure the safety of workers who do their jobs at a significant elevation. There are also important steps required when employees work below grade. Cutting corners can be as dangerous for workers in trenches as it might be for those at a significant elevation.

Why are trenches so dangerous?

In a lot of ways, working in a trench is much like working at the ground level when there are employees overhead on scaffolding. There is the constant possibility that tools, materials or other items might fall and strike the worker. Someone below grade is that risk of getting hurt by falling materials or equipment, as well as individuals who trip and fall into the trench.

Beyond that, there is the constant risk of a cave-in occurring. Best practices when digging at a construction site generally require special support inside trenches so that the walls remain firm. When construction companies cut corners or do not use trench boxes as they should, the workers in the trench could end up hurt in a crushing incident.

The earth itself could trap them. Equipment that pushes the earth could also slide into a trench, potentially causing severe injuries to anyone below grade. In rare cases, there could also be reason to worry about flash flooding during times of inclement weather.

Companies in the construction sector should properly train workers about the risks inherent in trenches, provide appropriate safety equipment and mandate safety-conscious practices at all times. Construction workers injured in a trench-related incident may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. They can potentially request reimbursement for lost wages and coverage for any medical expenses related to their injuries.

Those who understand when they are at risk of serious construction injuries may be able to better prioritize their safety on a construction site. Of course, even the most safety-minded workers can’t prevent all injuries. Requesting workers’ compensation is a reasonable reaction when an on-the-job incident leads to significant injury.