There are some industries, such as pipefitting or fracking, in which you have to regularly dig trenches or work in them.
Digging deep into the ground to create these trenches or working below the surface carries various dangers. Knowing what some of these are can minimize your chance of suffering a severe injury.
5 injuries that you should concern yourself with as a trench worker
The most common injuries that leave trench workers ill, injured or deceased include:
- Respiratory ailments: Any digging into the ground or work underground has the potential to stir up dangerous toxins, such as asbestos, gases or chemicals, all of which can affect your health. There’s also limited oxygen when you work in these environments, leading to more immediate health implications.
- Heavy equipment misuse and malfunctions: Excavators, dump trucks, cranes and other heavy equipment are commonplace at trench digging sites. Each of these poses its own dangers in their own right is its operator hasn’t received adequate training on how to use, there’s a user error or it malfunctions.
- Fall risks: People who work around trenches run the risk that they may fall a significant distance if they slip while close to the edge of a dig site.
- Electrocution and explosion dangers: You might trust your employer or utility worker who says that they’ve shut off the power or capped the gas line, but have they really done so? You risk electrocution or becoming involved in a sudden explosion or fire, if not.
- Trench collapses: A trench collapse can bury a worker alive. Your employer must implement measures to minimize the chances of this happening, or otherwise, it’s one additional issue you must worry about.
Most Louisiana employers have workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees’ medical bills and other expenses or losses associated with their workplace accidents. They should be forthright in letting you know how to tap into those benefits if you get hurt or fall ill on the job. You’ll certainly want to take time to learn more about how to best secure these benefits if your employer seems unwilling to guide you through the process.