Common Construction Excavation Injuries

While construction is never a clean job, some projects require the workers to get even more dirty. Plenty of contractors have had experience creating and operating in large trenches, but others don’t know what sort of dangers lie ahead.

It is critical that workers know the occupational hazards that come with working in trenches and how to prepare for these conditions. Recently, OSHA charged a Pennsylvania construction company over $200,000 for failing to install protective systems in an excavation area and not properly instructing employees on safety measures. Having awareness of these issues could prevent serious injuries on the job.


As with nearly any construction job, falling is one of the top obstacles. What makes it so prevalent in excavation jobs is that working around a lot of dug dirt doesn’t quite offer as much stability as flat ground, concrete or wood. Site workers need to install safety signs and barriers at least two feet around the perimeter of the excavation. The edges are too uneven and unstable to carry anything without the risk of slipping or dropping materials on the workers.


OSHA claims that the company they are charging did not provide a safe exit route from the trench or check to see if they wore hardhats. Both of these actions demonstrate extremely negligent behavior as cave-in incidents kill several workers in a year. Workers need hardhats to protect their heads from any fallen dirt or materials, and they need to know the exit route to avoid getting crushed or suffocated in case a trench starts collapsing. OSHA advises companies to use a protective system to prevent cave-ins such as benching, sloping, shoring or shielding.


The Pennsylvania construction company was also cited on not correcting excavation deficiencies such as producing steel. They need to look out for anything sticking out of the ground that are potential trip hazards, utility lines or signs of contamination by gases and chemicals. If there isn’t a proper examination beforehand, workers could risk falling down, getting electrocuted or inhaling a toxic substance.

Trench negligence puts the lives of many construction workers at risk and can cost the project more time and money. If you or a close one suffered from this critical oversight, contact an attorney with experience in construction law to help you seek compensation for the incident.

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