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Deaths Due to Unsafe Access/Egress

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 laying pipe in a trench 12-feet deep, when one of the employees saw the bottom face of the trench move. He jumped out of the way along the length of the trench; the other employee was fatally injured as the wall caved-in. The walls of the trench were not sloped, and no means of emergency egress were provided.

  • In a 15-foot deep trench, which was not shored or sloped properly, two workers were laying sewer pipe. The only means of egress was by climbing the backfill. While exiting the trench, one of the workers was trapped by a small cave-in. The second employee tried to extricate him, but a second cave-in occurred, trapping the second employee at the waist. The second cave-in actually caused the death of the first employee; the second employee sustained a hip injury.

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