A trench collapsed last week while workers were installing a sewage line at a Portland, Oregon home, burying a 27-year-old man, Portland firefighters said. The man died as a result of the collapse, according to OR-OSHA. The man had been working at the bottom of a trench that was 11 feet deep, 3 feet wide and 70 feet long. The worker had been outside the protection of the shoring system when the trench caved in. (Oregonian and Cal-OSHA Newsdesk.)
News sources report that a federal contractor responsible for overseeing nuclear facilities is under investigation following several serious accidents. One incident involved the fatality of construction worker who died after a 1,200-foot pylon fell on him. An investigation into the incident revealed that the company violated safety training regulations and procedures for pile driving operations, and as such was received 2 citations for "serious" violations.
California employers of construction workers exposed to confined spaces have to meet extra safety standards issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Subpart AA of 29 CFR 1926 of the updated OSHA regulations establishes that employers must identify confined spaces at work sites and assess their hazards. Workers must also receive safety training specific to the confined spaces and learn how to rescue workers if an accident happens.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2000 to 2009, 350 workers were killed in trench collapses and cave-ins that occurred during excavations. In response, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has released information in an attempt to educate workers and employers on the dangers of excavation and steps that might be used to prevent accidents in the future.
Construction workers in California might be interested in learning more about ways to reduce accidents associated with erecting exterior or interior walls. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration is responsible for ensuring that employers and employees follow the appropriate protocols in order to reduce the risk of preventable injuries occurring at the workplace. Fall-related injuries are especially prominent in the residential construction sector. Employers who fail to comply with OSHA standard may be liable for any resulting injuries.
California readers may be aware that there is a state agency devoted to job safety and health programs, called the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA. However, there may be confusion about the distinction between CAL/OSHA and its federal counterpart, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.