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OSHA investigating trench collapse in fatal job-related accident

One may not think that a plumbing and heating contractor could face a life-threatening incident in the normal course of the work day. However, when the job entails the laying of plumbing pipes and associated implements in recently dug trenches, the danger of a job-related accident is definitely present. Recently, one man was caught up in a tragic nightmare and, even though it did not play out in North Carolina, it could be a cautionary tale for contractors in the state.

The 26-year-old man was reportedly in a construction trench working on the plumbing system for a new home. A co-worker who was nearby working in the new home's foundation heard the man's calls for help. He rushed to the trench and discovered the man buried up to his chest after the trench walls apparently collapsed onto him.

After removing as much of the rocks and debris from his co-worker's chest as possible, he summoned help from emergency crews. The rescue operation spanned several hours as the crews worked carefully in order to prevent further collapse of the trench walls onto the man or onto rescue workers. The worker was conscious and communicating with the rescue crews when he was finally freed and flown to the nearest trauma center. Unfortunately the man later died, presumably from the injuries he suffered in the accident.

The local office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting an investigation into this fatal job-related accident. It is unknown as of yet what caused the collapse or if the contractor will be assessed any fines as a result of the fatality. The surviving family of this deceased worker will likely qualify for death benefits from the workers' compensation program. Any North Carolina worker who is injured while on the job is guaranteed the right to refer to professionals who are skilled in ensuring the prompt filing and payment of all qualifying claims.

Source: fredericknewspost.com, "Myersville man rescued from collapsed trench has died", Jeremy Arias, Nov. 26, 2014

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