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Workers' compensation news: Company fined for trench collapse

Florida residents who work in construction face numerous dangers on job sites. Whether they work at heights, underground or in trenches, they continue to report for work trusting that their employers will take all of the measures necessary to secure their safety. Even so, some would say that accidents are inevitable; otherwise, there would be no need for workers' compensation insurance programs.

That may be true, but when employers fail to take the safety measures required to protect their workers, people suffer injuries or die. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently concluded its investigation into a trench collapse that could have caused the death of a 34-year-old man. Emergency responders credit his co-workers' quick thinking for his survival. They managed to unbury his head so that he could breathe during the approximately 30 minutes it took emergency workers to get him out of the trench.

The South Dakota company for which he worked failed to put a protective system into place to prevent the trench from collapsing. The company also failed to conduct regular inspections of the trench to determine whether it was safe for workers to be in it. OSHA has particular requirements when it comes to trenches, and this near-tragedy clearly illustrates their utility.

Any injuries suffered by this worker were more than likely covered by workers' compensation. The same would be true for any worker here in Florida. The system is designed to provide benefits such as medical costs and lost wages to those injured in work-related accidents such as this one. Additional benefits may be available depending on the severity of the injuries and the likelihood of a full recovery.

Source:, "OSHA Fines First Dakota Enterprises After Trench Collapse", Stefanie Valentic, Aug. 28, 2017

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