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How dangerous are trench collapses?

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2022 | Workers' Compensation

Trenches are commonplace on construction sites in Illinois and across the country. After all, when construction crews are building new structures and renovating existing ones, they often need access to subterranean areas. Still, if a trench lacks good construction, it can present a grave danger to anyone working in or near it.

According to reporting from WQAD, an Illinois man recently had to take a helicopter to the hospital for treatment after emergency responders freed him from a collapsed trench. The man was lucky, as most victims of trench failures do not come out alive.

Dirt is heavy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns construction workers that one square yard of dirt can weigh as much as 3,000 pounds. If you are at the bottom of a trench collapse, you are likely to have even more weight pressing on your body.

Sadly, being under an excessive amount of weight makes you vulnerable to crush injuries, spinal cord damage, suffocation and other catastrophic injuries.

Rescue is difficult

First responders often have a difficult time rescuing trapped construction workers after a trench collapse. This is because they must move soil carefully to avoid exacerbating the problem. Indeed, with the recent Illinois trench collapse mentioned above, rescuers needed more than three hours to free the man.

Even though trench collapses are rarely survivable, it is sometimes possible to emerge from one with only life-altering injuries. Ultimately, if you have substantial bodily harm following a trench collapse at a construction site, you may be eligible for valuable workers’ compensation benefits to help you pay for the top-level medical care you deserve.