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The importance of safety in trench work

Trench accidents on Louisiana construction sites can result in catastrophic injuries or deaths to workers who are involved in them. Because of the dangers that are posed by working in trenches, there are safety regulations that employers are mandated to follow. Because a cubic foot of dirt can weigh more than a ton, it is easy to understand how workers can be crushed when trenches collapse.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, trench fatalities more than doubled in 2016 from the previous year. Trench collapses that result because of safety violations may lead to criminal prosecutions of those who are responsible. Experts report that there are three primary reasons for the increase in trench deaths, including using untrained workers, trying to cut corners to get jobs done quickly and inadequate safety measures.

Safety experts also say that OSHA's guidelines should be the minimum followed. They also recommend that companies allow workers to stop working immediately if they see safety hazards. Companies should have strong safety programs in place and recognize that the costs of stopping a large project while correcting hazardous conditions may be far less than the costs involved with trench accidents and resulting injuries or fatalities.

Workers who are injured in these types of accidents may be left with permanent disabilities and be unable to return to their jobs. Regardless of who was at fault in causing the accidents, the workers may recover benefits through their employers' workers' compensation insurance policies. Most employers are required to have this type of coverage. Workers' compensation may pay for the medical expenses and ongoing rehabilitation and treatment needs that workers incur as a result of their injuries. An attorney who has experience in this practice area can often assist with the preparation and filing of the required claim documentation.

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