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Deaths Due to No Protective System

Case Reports

The following Case Reports of trenching accidents investigated by OSHA illustrate how seemingly innocent workplace activities can have deadly consequences.

  • Two employees were installing 6" PVC pipe in a trench 40' long x 9' deep x 2' wide. No means of protection was provided in the vertical wall trench. A cave-in occurred, fatally injuring one employee and causing serious facial injuries to the other.

  • An inadequately protected trench wall collapsed, killing one employee who had just gotten into the trench to check grade for installation of an 8" sewer line. The trench was 20-25 feet deep and had been benched about one bucket-width (4 feet) on each side. At the time of the collapse a backhoe was still extracting soil from the trench.

  • Four employees were in an excavation 32' long x 7' deep x 9' wide boring a hole under a road. Eight-foot steel plates used as shoring were placed against the side walls of the excavation at about 30-degree angles. No horizontal bracing was used. One of the plates tipped over, crushing an employee.

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