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Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Accident Report Detail

Accident: 14305866 - Employee Killed In Trench Cave-In

Accident: 14305866 -- Report ID: 0454712 -- Event Date: 02/13/1986
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
1843857202/14/19861623Ronnie Lewis Construction Company

At approximately 3:00 p.m. on February 13, 1986, Employee #1 was working with a 5-man crew that was laying an 81 in. PVC sewer pipe in a 45 ft long, 2 ft wide, and 7 ft deep trench. This was their second day back on the job after rain and snow had delayed work for about a week. The trench walls, which were almost vertical, had been stepped down to create an approximately 18 in. bench at about the 5 ft level. Employee #1, who was alone in the trench, had just given a grade shovel to the trackhoe operator when a crack opened up along the south wall of the trench. Within seconds after being alerted about the dangerous 12 ft long crack, which was to the left of and behind Employee #1, he evidently panicked, turned, and ran back through the trench into the area of the slide. He was pinned in an upright position against the north wall. The falling dirt held together and did not crumble, leaving his head and feet uncovered. It took approximately 40 minutes to dig him out. Employee #1 died shortly after arriving at the hospital of cardiac arrest resulting from blunt chest trauma.

Keywords: pinned, work rules, construction, trench, cardiac arrest, shoring, sloping, cave-in

Employee Details
Employee # Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 18438572 Fatality Asphyxia Occupation not reported

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