The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited an employer following a fatal Boston accident that killed two employees. The employer was cited for “18 willful, repeat, serious and other-than-serious” violations of workplace safety standards. Generally, these standards range from providing proper safety equipment to employees to training workers in identifying and addressing potential hazards.
In a press release for the region, including Boston, OSHA made clear that two employees died when they were working in a deep trench, and it collapsed. Adjacent to the trench was a fire hydrant supply line, which broke as the trench collapsed and filled the trench with water quickly.
One hazard for people working in trenches is that unprotected walls can collapse suddenly, and the great force can trap and engulf individuals before they have time to react. By shoring the trench walls, using a protecting trench box, or sloping the soil, cave-in hazards can be prevented in many cases.