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What injuries can trench collapses cause?

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2024 | blog, Construction Accidents

Digging trenches is a common practice in construction and excavation projects, but it comes with risks. One of the most dangerous hazards associated with trench work is the potential for collapses.

Trench collapses can lead to severe injuries. Understanding the specific injuries caused by these collapses is important.

Crush injuries

Trench collapses can result in crush injuries, where the sheer weight of the collapsing soil presses against a worker’s body. These injuries commonly affect the limbs.

The force exerted during a collapse can be huge, leading to long-term damage and complications. Prevention through proper shoring and protective systems is important to avoid the devastating consequences of crush injuries.


Perhaps the most alarming consequence of a trench collapse is suffocation. The displaced soil can bury a worker alive, cutting off their oxygen supply. The absence of air can lead to unconsciousness within minutes, and if rescue takes too long, it can be deadly.

Traumatic brain injuries

In the chaos of a trench collapse, debris becomes a significant hazard. Workers may have to deal with rocks, tools or other objects falling during the collapse. This can result in traumatic brain injuries.

Back injuries

As the soil caves in, workers often attempt to escape quickly, leading to sudden movements and awkward postures. This can create back injuries, ranging from strains to more severe spinal issues.

In just the first half of 2022, 22 American workers died in trench accidents. Trench collapses pose a significant threat to the well-being of workers in excavation sites. By understanding the potential dangers, employers can work to reduce the likelihood of life-altering injuries.


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