If you work in the construction industry, you might have extensive experience working in or near trenches. After all, trenches are vital for installing underground fixtures, building foundations and completing other necessary tasks.
Despite their commonplace nature, construction trenches can be extremely dangerous. In fact, according to reporting from Equipment World, nearly 250 workers have died in trench collapses during the last decade. Regrettably, trenches can fail during any season, including winter.
Wintertime trench collapses
Much of any trench’s stability depends on the earth that surrounds the trench. During wintertime months, extreme temperature changes can cause soil to shift. The same is true for wet soil, so trenches might be less stable after heavy snow or rainfall.
Poor escape routes
All trenches should have escape routes for workers to climb to safety during an emergency. In the winter, though, ladder rungs can become icy. Likewise, wet and icy paths can be difficult for workers to traverse quickly. These problems continue during rescue operations, of course, as winter weather can make it harder for emergency responders to reach collapse victims.
Construction sites might have a skeleton crew during blizzards and other types of inclement winter conditions. If the cold keeps inspectors away, there may be no one to identify collapse potential. Moreover, crew leaders may ask workers to enter unsafe places in an attempt to complete a project before bad weather arrives.
Ultimately, even if wintertime weather is the main cause of a trench collapse, you might be eligible for substantial financial compensation for any injuries you sustain in one.