The Indiana office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating a construction accident in Noblesville that left one worker seriously injured.
The accident occurred when the man, an employee of Filson Earthworks Company was operating an excavator. A scoop suddenly detached from the excavator, hit the ground and bounced right back, striking the worker on the head. He fell into the 10 foot deep trench. Shockingly, it was more than an hour before the worker could be rescued and emergency personnel could transfer him to a hospital. That’s because the walls of this trench had not been shored, and the man had fallen into the most delicate part of the trench. Emergency personnel had to shore up the walls of the trench before the worker could be rescued. That took about an hour.
Shoring up the trench would likely not have done anything to prevent the man from falling into the trench. But it could definitely have sped up the rescue process, making it easier for emergency personnel to get into the trench, and access the man. Lack of shoring for the walls here meant that the man was alone in the trench in severe pain for more than an hour before he could be rescued.
The Indiana Department of Labor requires that all trenches that are deeper than 6 feet come with a trench box. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the safety violations here. If Filson Earthwork Company is found to have violated safety requirements, the company could face more than $100,000 in fines.
This isn’t the first time that the company has been involved in safety violations. In September 2000, Filson was cited for eight violations, and nearly $18,000 in fines were imposed against it.
Shoring up trench walls and building trench boxes to maintain the integrity of the walls and prevent them from collapsing, is the most effective way to prevent trench collapses. Trench cave-ins are some of the deadliest accidents on a construction worksite. It doesn’t take long for tons of soil that have been heaped on the sides of a trench to pile into the ditch, collapsing the walls in the process. A worker, who is trapped in this avalanche of soil, can be asphyxiated even before workers have a chance to rescue him.
The Indiana construction accident lawyers at Miller Mueller Mendelson Kennedy represent construction workers who have been injured in scaffolding accidents, trench collapses, electrocutions, falls and other construction accidents across Indiana.