Do you often find yourself working in a trench on your job? Do you have concerns about your safety? Do you trust that your employer is doing whatever it takes to keep you safe when you’re working below grade?
Working safely in a trench requires implementing certain specific safety protocols. If one of these protocols is omitted, workers’ lives are endangered. Ideally, the company owner and foreman will be proactive about trench safety procedures, With all this in mind, you need to follow these trench safety tips:
- Never enter an unprotected trench
- Don’t enter a trench until you are 100 percent sure that there is an adequate protection system in place
- Be sure to inspect the protection system before entering the trench, making sure that it’s defect-free and installed in the appropriate manner
- Stay in constant contact with the rest of your team so that they are familiar with proper procedures, who is in the trench, and what they should and shouldn’t be doing
There is more than one type of protective system:
- Sloped to ensure stability
- Cut in a manner that creates stepped grades
- Supported by a system comprised of beams and posts
- Supported by a trench box
Any excavated materials should be kept a minimum distance of two feet away from the edge to avoid a situation in which the excavated dirt or mud falls back inside.
If you regularly work in a trench, it can be easy to believe that you know exactly what you are doing. Many workers tend to believe that nothing bad will ever happen while they labor in the trenches, as they have fortuitously been able to avoid trouble in the past. Unfortunately, this line of thinking can lead to an accident.
If you are injured in a trench accident, it’s important that you receive immediate medical attention. A medical professional can provide a detailed overview of your injuries and the type of treatment you will require.
Depending on the severity of the accident and your injuries, you may not be able to return to work right away. You can learn more about your legal rights, which may lead to your filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.