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Cave-In Accidents a Common Utility and Construction Risk in Georgia

More than 270 workers died because of excavation or trenching cave-ins from 2000 through 2006, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Nearly 70 percent of these deaths happened within companies that employed less than 50 workers. Nearly 50 half of incidents happened among companies that had 10 or fewer workers.
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Regardless of the size of the company that you work for, it’s important to keep safety as a number one priority. This is especially important when you’re working in environments that are as dangerous as excavation and trenching projects. Fortunately, many of the dangers are recognizable and can be prevented.

Regulations and consensus standards describe protective equipment, engineering controls and safe work practices to work to best minimize these hazards for employees during excavation projects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys understand how important it is to plan your dig — from calling about buried utility lines to ensuring the proper trench-safety equipment is in place. It’s doesn’t matter if you’re shoring, trenching or backfilling, you’ve got to plan the details to help ensure the safety of everyone on the job. A lot of accidents in this industry are simply the result of poor planning and waiting until the job has already started to implement proper safety procedures. Waiting until the last minute only slows down the work, adds to the costs and increases the possibility of a cave-in accident.

Before preparing for a bid, you’re going to want to know as much about the job, the worksite and the necessary materials as possible. It’s important to include safety materials for these bids! The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is here to offer you a checklist to help you to mark off each requirement:

-Proximity and physical conditions of nearby structures.

-Traffic.

-Ground and surface water.

-Soil.

-Weather.

-Location of the water table.

-Overhead and underground utilities.

You can determine these conditions a number of ways, including testing for soil conditions and types, observations and job site studies. It’s also a good idea to meet with utility companies and local officials to discuss the work. All of this information will help you to determine how to complete the job as safely as possible.

Before starting each project, you want to make sure that you minimize or remove all surface obstacles. Consider having employees wear warning vests or other highly-visible and reflective garments to help keep them more visible. Make sure that safety equipment is being used and worn correctly. Also make sure that workers are properly trained on the equipment that they’ll be using and that they know what to do in the event of an emergency.

Preparation is your key in avoiding a potentially fatal accident.

If you have been injured on the job, contact J. Franklin Burns, P.C. for your free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. Call 404-303-7770 today.

More Blog Entries:

Respirator Protection Violation Among Citations Given Georgia Companies, Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorney Blog, July 25, 2012

Company Fined for Ignoring Risks of Work Accidents in Atlanta, Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorney Blog, July 20, 2012