When considering the potential hazards construction workers face, the focus is mostly on cave-ins or collapses. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes strict safety standards, but noncompliance continues to cause construction site injuries in Tennessee and across the country. Even if the walls of a trench are adequately supported, other excavation-related risks also need attention.
Employers can protect workers by being proactive in their mitigation of safety risks. Routine safety checks are crucial because weather and other conditions can compromise the stability of the trench and the surrounding area. Workers should never be expected to enter unsupported trenches, not even to quickly retrieve an object that was dropped into the excavation.
Other trench-related risks include the lack of personal protective equipment, such as steel-toed boots, hard hats and eye protection. Slips and trips can cause falls with catastrophic consequences, and many such injuries involve bystanders who fall into trenches without safeguards. Other hazards include heavy equipment used in the restricted space and struck-by accidents caused by objects dropped from above. A lack of oxygen and exposure to sewage, water, gas and electricity can cause the death of trench workers.
Victims of construction site injuries in Tennessee will likely be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Many injured workers choose to focus on recovering and returning to work while an experienced workers’ compensation attorney navigates the benefits claims process on their behalf. Compensation typically covers medical bills and lost income due to temporary disability. Construction workers whose injuries caused permanent disabilities will likely receive additional benefits.