Spring and summer increase the risk of trench collapses

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2022 | Workers' Compensation |

If you work in construction, you are probably no stranger to trenches. After all, trenches, which may be inches or feet deep, are necessary for laying foundations, running electrical and plumbing conduits and even removing excess water from job sites.

A trench collapse happens when the surrounding soil falls into the trench. Because soil is heavy, a trench collapse is likely to cause serious injury or even death. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, trench collapses have contributed to dozens of construction worker fatalities in the past decade alone.

Wet weather leads to trench instability

When it comes to building a structurally sound trench, stability is key. Prolonged or heavy rainfall during the spring and summer months may weaken the integrity of a trench’s surrounding soil. If the trench does not have reinforcement, water-logged soil may cause it to collapse.

Wet weather adds excess weight

Just as wet weather can cause a trench to become unstable, it can also add considerable weight to the soil. If saturated soil falls into the trench, you may be vulnerable to catastrophic crush injuries. Likewise, accumulated moisture may pose a drowning risk every time you work in or near a trench.

Wet weather makes escapes more difficult

Your construction trenches probably have ladders and other escape routes. If you need to get out of a trench quickly, though, moisture is the enemy. Specifically, precipitation may cause your boots or the ladder to become slippery.

Ultimately, if you suffer a life-changing injury in a trench collapse during the spring or summer, you may be eligible for substantial workers’ compensation benefits.