Most construction sites require the digging of a few trenches. They may be there to lay foundations or to run supplies such as electricity, gas or water through
While trenches are common and necessary, they can also be incredibly dangerous. Here are some of the issues that can occur:
People can fall into trenches that aren’t properly guarded
Whether on foot or in a construction vehicle, people can fall into a trench that does not have adequate protection and warnings around it.
Things can fall on top of people who are inside a trench
Your boss asks you to climb down into a trench to check a pipe. If someone passes too close to the edge of the trench, they could kick a rock onto your head. Or a machine passing further back could topple a stack of cable spools that then roll down, fall in and crush you.
The trench can collapse in on someone
The stability of any hole dug in the ground depends on several factors, such as soil type and slope angle. Yet other variable factors can make a trench that is stable today unstable tomorrow.
For example, heavy rains or a leaking water pipe, someone digging out another hole in the immediate vicinity, or diverting heavy vehicles to pass close by. Adequate support and constant assessment by someone with appropriate knowledge and training are crucial.
Noxious gases or things already in the trench
Some sections of the ground contain harmful gases that are released when someone digs into them. Others contain gas pipes or electricity cables that could do damage if the digger strikes them.
If you are injured in a construction site incident, seek legal help to understand your options for claiming compensation.