Trenches are some of the most dangerous workspaces on construction sites nationwide. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health prescribes strict regulations to prevent trench-related construction workers' accidents. However, not all employers prioritize employee safety, and their focus on profits have led to many lives lost.
Cal/OSHA has launched an investigation into a recent accident in which a 33-year-old worker died. Reportedly, the incident occurred shortly before 11:30 a.m. on a recent Friday at a residential construction site. The deceased worker was an employee of an engineering company that was contracted to lay drain pipes.
Fire officials who responded to the scene say the worker was in the process of putting a 24-inch drainpipe in a trench with a depth of 12 feet when the walls of the excavation collapsed. The worker was buried under the soil, and rescuers could not save his life. The extrication of the deceased worker's body took about 12 hours. It is not clear whether any of the prescribed methods were used to prevent cave-ins.
When lives are lost in fatal construction workers' accidents, the surviving family members typically have to deal with unanticipated financial hardships. Along with the costs of a funeral and burial, the sudden loss of income can be overwhelming. However, they might be entitled to death benefits through the California workers' compensation insurance program, and legal resources are available to assist with the navigation of benefits claims. Along with coverage of end-of-life costs, the benefits will likely include a financial package to help with day-to-day living expenses.