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Trench collapse leads to fine in Boston work accident

A Boston work accident resulting from a collapsing gas-line trench has resulted in a $36,500 proposed fine, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration reported.

OSHA cited National Grid for six alleged serious violations of trenching safety standards after an employee was injured by a falling rock. The June 21 collapse of the gas line trench happened on Woodbine Avenue in Boston.

Boston workers’ compensation lawyers understand the inherent dangers faced by workers in trenches. Excavated dirt left at the edge of the trench can increase the pressure on trench walls. Heavy equipment working at the edges can increase vibrations in the ground and increase the risk of a trench collapse. Employers have an obligation to provide employees with the proper training and equipment necessary to stay safe when excavating or working in trenches.

Construction accidents caused by trench collapses result in an average of more than 70 deaths a year. Ten times as many workers are injured.

In this case, OSHA found the trench lacked protection against wall collapse and exposed workers to being struck by falling rock and soil. The workers also lacked proper training and the trench had not been properly inspected.

“This is precisely the type of incident OSHA’s excavation standards are designed to prevent,” said Brenda Gordon, OSHA’s area director for Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. “A competent inspection would have identified and allowed these hazardous conditions to be fixed before workers ever entered the trench. I urge employers to prevent incidents such as this one by always following proper procedures and ensuring effective trenching safeguards at all jobsites.”

If you have been injured in a Boston work accident, contact the Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Office of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333.