Workers involved in excavation and trenching are at high risk of on-the-job accidents. The nature of their work exposes them to unique dangers. Striking power lines, rupturing gas lines, cave-ins, falls, and malfunctioning power equipment are just some of the risks. Injuries that keep them away from work, create medical expenses, and add concerns about providing for their family. Potentially life-changing and even fatal.
As a Chicago workers compensation lawyer who represents clients in Workers’ Compensation claims, I fight for victims every day to gain the benefits that they deserve. In light of the risks posed by digging and trenching activities and construction accidents, I would like to offer some suggestions that will reduce the likelihood that you will be injured while excavating a work site.
Before the work begins, confirm that an expert has inspected the soil for stability. Only after review and authorization should the worker proceed with the dig and enter the trench.
Prior to beginning the dig, plan and practice procedures in the event that the trench collapses. Know how to contact emergency rescue assistance. Make certain that ladders are never more than 25 feet from any worker in the trench.
Check mark-outs for gas, electric, and water lines. Notify subcontractors of the trench location and make sure they keep vehicles and heavy equipment at a safe distance from the trench.
Trenching is hard work. Professional athletes never go into competition without a pre-game warm-up. The physical demands of construction work require a similar regiment. Stretching. Light calisthenics. Deep breathing. You’ll protect yourself from muscle pulls and tears. All Professionals need to be prepared to perform their job.
Throughout the workday, make certain that the foreman rechecks the excavation site for stability – especially following rain. Check for trench collapse warning signs. Also check for hazards other than cave-ins, such as noxious gases, unstable edges, or rigging hazards. Only after review should the worker proceed.
Attend that safety meeting at the start of every shift. They keep you aware of what everyone around you is doing and your role. They also keep you aware of the equipment being used that day. Stay Focused – your body and life depends on it.
What To Do If You’re Injured.
Excavation accidents happen quickly and are always unexpected. If you are injured while on-the-job, based upon my years of experience, I can offer a 5-step checklist to maximize success with your claim. I know the territory, the pitfalls, and the hurdles.
Step 1: Medical Care.
First and foremost is your health. Seek medical attention and treatment immediately. Be sure to get copies of medical records regarding your exam and treatment. Take photos of any cuts or bruises or any physical damage that may not be revealed on X-rays. Being examined by a physician and following their medical advice is always first priority.
Step 2: Notify your employer.
Following your initial medical treatment, notify your employer. Do not wait. In Illinois, you have only a short time to notify your employer of the injury.
Step 3: Document the situation.
Accidents are scary. Details are easy to overlook. Write down what you remember happening as soon as possible in your private notes. What was happening just prior to the accident? Equipment condition? Where were you located? Get the names of witnesses. Do not share these notes with anyone other than your attorney who will find these enormously helpful in fighting for you.
Step 4: Notify your union.
If you’re a member of a union, make your steward aware of your injury. Your union can provide significant help.
Step 5: Retain an attorney.
Contact an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced with Workers Compensation cases. We help you navigate the claims process to insure that you receive all the benefits you deserve. We fight for your rights, your benefits, and assist with all the details – so that you can focus on healing.
We Help Victims.
The attorneys at Friend, Levinson & Turner Law make the legal process as stress-free as possible. We focus on recovering compensation for you – while you concentrate on your physical and emotional recovery.
If you or a loved one is injured at work, please call my office at 312-346-8465 or contact us using the form below.