Fatal Facts Accident Report 61
(Taken From Job Safety and Health Quarterly Vol. 12 No. 3 Spring
Office of Construction & Engineering
Safety Monitor on Site?
and Health Program in Effect?
and Education Provided?
at this Type of Work
An employee was working
in a trench 4 feet wide and 7 feet deep. About 30 feet away a backhoe
was straddling the trench when the backhoe operator noticed a large chunk
of dirt falling from the side wall behind the worker in the trench, he
called out a warning. Before the worker could climb out, 6 to 8 feet of
the trench wall had collapsed on him and covered his body up to his neck.
He suffocated before the backhoe operator could dig him out. There were
no exit ladders. No sloping or shoring had been used in the trench.
As a result of its
investigation, OSHA issued citations alleging three serious violations.
OSHA's construction standards include several requirements which, if they
had been followed here, might have prevented this fatality.
- The employer did
not instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe
conditions and the regulations applicable to the work environment to
control or eliminate any hazard or other exposure to illness or injury
[29 CFR 1926.21(b)(2)]
- The employer should
not allow work in trenches where the sides were not shored or otherwise
supported when the trench is 5 feet or deeper and 8 feet or longer [new
standard 29 CFR 1926.652(a)].
- The employer allowed
workers in trenches more than 4 feet deep without adequate means of
exit, such as a ladder or steps [new standard 29 CFR 1926.651(c)(2)].
SOURCES OF HELP
- Title 29 Code
of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1926 -- 0SHA construction standards.
Revised 7/1/92. Stock number 869-017-00122-1 ($14). Available from the
Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington,
D.C. 20402-9325, phone 202/783-3238. For phone orders you may use a
GPO deposit account, Visa, MasterCard or checks made payable to Superintendent
- For Information
on OSHA-funded free consultation services call the nearest OSHA area
office listed in telephone directories under U.S. Labor Department or
under the state government section in states administering their own
- OSHA Safety and
Health Training Guidelines for Construction (Available from the National
Technical Information Service, 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA
22161; phone 703/487-4650; Order No. PB-239-312/AS) $19, to help construction
employers establish a training program.
- Courses in construction
safety are offered by the OSHA Training Institute, 1555 Times Drive,
Des Plaines, IL 60018, (phone 708/297-4810).
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