Trenches are some of the most hazardous areas on construction sites in Tennessee and elsewhere. Sadly, when trenches collapse, co-workers sometimes suffer fatal construction site injuries while attempting to save a trapped worker. One such case in another state underscores the fact that only adequately trained individuals should attempt a rescue, and not before checking to see that it is safe to launch the rescue attempt.
Earlier this year, a construction crew was working on a project that involved placing a pipe in a culvert. The angle at which the trench had to be excavated required a depth of 15 feet for a job that would typically require a trench four-foot deep. Despite the dangerously deep trench, no shoring or other measures were in place to support the trench walls.
When a wall caved in, burying the lone worker in the trench, two co-workers jumped in without any hesitation to attempt a rescue. The rescue ended in tragedy, because another wall collapsed, burying the two helpers. Ultimately, the original worker survived even though he was critically injured. However, one co-worker was killed during the rescue attempt.
Such tragedies are preventable by compliance with prescribed safety standards. If such an incident occurs in Tennessee, the state-regulated workers’ compensation system will cover any worker who is a victim of construction site injuries. The system is a no-fault program, meaning that benefits are paid regardless of who was at fault. An attorney with experience in this field of the law can assist injured workers and surviving family members of deceased workers to navigate benefits claims for financial relief.