A 59-year-old Michigan contractor was killed in a recent trench collapse at a work site in Grosse Point Woods, just outside of Detroit. The accident underscores just how dangerous even routine jobs can be, highlighting the importance of ongoing safety training even for those who have spent years working in the industry.
A crew was reportedly using a backhoe to dig 20 feet down to do work on a sewer line when the trench collapsed, killing one man and injuring a police officer. The former was an experienced contractor and the owner of his own construction firm, The Detroit News reports. The first time the earth fell, emergency workers were able to quickly reach the man, holding his hand and keeping him calm as they gave him oxygen and attempted to dig him out. They had succeeded in uncovering his neck and shoulders when the trench collapsed again, burying and killing him.
One search and rescue leader told the newspaper that the trench was highly dangerous and appeared to lack the proper safety protection. A city public safety official, visibly shaken and covered in mud after aiding in the attempted rescue, also spoke to The Detroit News at the scene.
“Whether (the trench) was done properly will have to be determined after there is an investigation,” he told the source. “There are things I would have liked to see in place that weren’t there.”
The police officer who was hurt in the second collapse is reportedly in good condition.
Our thoughts go out to everyone involved in this tragic accident, from the victim’s family to the emergency responders on scene.
Accidents happen, but ongoing, aggressive training can help you be prepared when they do. If you work in trench excavation, make a renewed commitment to safety today by investing in excavation, trenching and shoring courses from Mastery Technologies.