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Back to Failure to Inspect Trench and Protective Systems

Deaths Due to No Trench and Protective System Inspection

Case Reports

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

  • An employee was in a trench installing forms for concrete footers when it caved-in, causing fatal injuries. The trench, which was 7 1/2 feet deep, was in loose, sandy (Type C) soil, and no inspection was conducted prior to the start of the shift.

  • In a trench 6 feet deep x 32 inches wide, an employee was applying a waterproofing primer containing methyl chloroform and 1,4-dioxane to the foundation of a house. The employee was overcome by the fumes, and later died of trichloroethane intoxication. No one had tested the atmosphere in the trench, the employees were not provided with respiratory protection, and mechanical ventilation was not used.

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