Four landscape workers were excavating a 10-foot ditch for a drainage pipe outside of a home in Boonton Township, New Jersey.
As they were working, the trench started to give way. One of the workers became trapped, and when another worker jumped in to save him, he also became trapped — under 10 feet of dirt.
After hours of searching, official found both of the men’s bodies.
Both of the other workers were able to escape, and one of them was taken to the hospital for leg injuries after being trapped up to his legs in the trench.
Here are tips to prevent cave-ins when trenching:
• Ensure employees who are working in excavations are protected from cave-ins: Use protection systems such as shoring, sloping or excavation boxes. Slope the sides to an angle not steeper than 1 1/2:1 (horizontal to vertical).
• Have a qualified person inspect the excavation, adjacent areas and support systems on an ongoing basis.
• Before digging, call 811 to have a locator mark underground lines, pipes and cables.
• Train employees to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions.
• Develop a trench emergency action plan that describes rescue and medical duties and make sure all of the employees understand these procedures.
• Do not operate equipment near the trench while employees are in it to prevent vibrating the excavation.