OSHA Investigation into Deadly Trench Collapse in Missouri

by | Oct 7, 2022 | Construction Accident, Wrongful Death

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has completed its investigation into the deadly trench collapse in Dudley, Missouri on April 8, 2022. OSHA’s investigation found that the incident could have been prevented if the construction company had used safety measures required by law.  During the incident, the worker was in an eight foot deep trench to install a storm drain when the trench collapsed on top of him.  The worker died as a result.

The OSHA investigation found that Brown Construction Co. Inc. did not follow required safety standards. Following the investigation, OSHA issued multiple citations, for the failure to follow federal excavation and trenching standards:

  • 29 CFR 1926.21(b)(2): The employer did not instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his work environment to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury.
  • 29 CFR 1926.651(c)(2): A stairway, ladder, ramp or other safe means of egress was not located in trench excavations that were 4 feet (1.22m) or more in-depth so as to require no more than 25 feet (7.62m) of lateral travel for employees.
  • 29 CFR 1926.651(k)(1): Daily inspections of excavations, the adjacent areas, and protective systems were not made by a competent person for evidence of a situation that could have resulted in possible cave-ins, indications of failure of protective systems, hazardous atmospheres, or other hazardous conditions.
  • 29 CFR 1926.652(a)(1): Each employee in an excavation was not protected from cave-ins by an adequate protective system designed in accordance with paragraph (b) or (c) of this section.

Construction workers put their lives at risk in a dangerous industry every single day.  Ultimately, many incidents could have been prevented had federal regulations been followed.  Workers face risks and hazards that must be adequately discussed and planned for before work begins.  Every worker involved in the project must know what is required to safely perform the task.  It is more than merely having a written down procedure, companies must ensure that their workers understand and follow what has been developed.

Here, a worker tragically lost his life as a result of the failures found in the OSHA investigation.  OSHA provides excavation and trenching guidelines which should have been followed.  OSHA has also issued instruction for companies to use in order to ensure that minimum standards are followed.

There has been a significant increase in trenching accidents during 2022.  According to OSHA, in the first six months of 2022, twenty-two people were killed in trenching related accidents.  Tragically, all of these accidents could have been prevented had federal regulations been followed.

Our experienced lawyers have handled personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits of all kinds and have the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or those who have been seriously injured in a trenching or excavation accident.  The experienced construction personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of an accident.

Our lawyers have represented numerous workers who have sustained serious and catastrophic injuries on a job site as a result of the negligence of another party.  There are strict and short time limits on making claims, so please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or to learn more about your legal rights.