Proper safety and supervision programs are vital to keeping Oklahoma trench workers safe. A single cubic yard of dirt weights about 3,000 pounds, which is enough to crush a person. While fatal trenching accidents doubled in 2016, OSHA says that they can be prevented by following its safety protocols. Keeping employees safe may also be a way for owners and managers to avoid liability.
In April 2015, a 22-year-old man died in a trench collapse, and the company that managed the job site was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. The man worked for a subcontractor that was also fined $10,000 and saw the site foreman sentenced to up to three years in prison. OSHA levied another fine of $100,000 against the subcontractor.
It is believed that there are a few reasons why trench accidents happen. Companies may be inclined to cut corners to do the job faster and at a lower cost. Workers may not be trained properly, and sometimes there is no safety culture within the company itself. One recommendation is to give workers the ability to stop what they are doing if they see unsafe working conditions. To increase the odds that a safety plan is followed, there should be a written policy in addition to supervision on the ground.
Those who suffer an on-the-job injury may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These can include the reimbursement or payment of medical bills as well as in some situations the provision of a percentage of lost wages. An attorney can often help to ensure that the required claim is filed timely and contains the required documentation.