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This website is maintained by the Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a Dallas, Texas law firm representing people across Texas for work injury cases. We have attempted to provide useful information for those harmed by work injuries.
36-year-old Man Dies in a Construction Site Trench Collapse in San Antonio, TexasThursday, March 16th, 2017
On March 9, 2017, 36-year-old David Allen Williams was working at a construction site in San Antonio, Texas, in wet weather when he fell into a trench that collapsed. He was trapped in heavy clay soil, up to his neck. At about 4:30 pm, when rescue firefighters arrived on the scene, they found that co-workers were attempting to rescue Williams. The firefighters continued the attempt, but Williams died while efforts to help him were still underway. The tonnage of the soil that entrapped him was more than anyone could withstand, according to Chief Charles Hood of the San Antonio Fire Department. He also said the conditions for trying to dig someone out were some of the worst.
During the extended period of recovery, the trench walls had to be secured once again, to prevent any further collapse.
This tragic workplace fatality will be investigated by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This is the federal organization designed to hold employers responsible for the safety of their workers.
Trench collapses are well covered in OSHA safety guidelines because trenches are known to be potentially deadly. Construction sites virtually always involve some sort of trenching. There are a number of dangers associated with trenching, including:
- If heavy machinery gets too close to the edge of a trench, the result can be a dangerous collapse;
- Working too close to traffic can cause sides of trenching to be more unstable;
- Electrical hazards are present overhead and underground.
- Natural gas can also be a dangerous underground utility in a construction trench.
- It is required the trenches be tested for toxic gases before workers enter, since that is another common threat to worker safety.
- In wet weather conditions, when it is difficult to stabilize soil, workers are not supposed to work in trenches.
Enforcement of trenching and excavation operations has been increased by OSHA in recent years, due to the risks involved and the number of lives lost. It is of utmost importance that employers protect workers with correct trenching measures, since even one square yard of soil is more weight than a person may be able to survive.