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More than physical work injury may result from trench collapse

Those in Illinois and other states who have to spend time working in trenches put their lives on the line every time they enter such excavations. There are strict regulations for trench safety, and clear guidelines for precautions to prevent collapses. However, some business owners disregard these rules because of the costs and extra time required to safeguard trenches. A worker in a neighboring state recently suffered a work injury when he was trapped in a trench on a recent Wednesday.

An incident report indicates that a 40-year-old worker was in a trench at an apartment complex where he was doing repairs. The trench was 10 feet deep, and when the walls collapsed, four feet of mud buried the man up to his waist. Firefighters responded to the construction site at approximately 11:30 a.m., finding the worker trapped but conscious.

The rescuers started by securing the wall that presented the most danger before they entered the trench to help the victim, who was struggling to breathe by that time. He was also handed a shovel to help clear away the mud. The rescue process lasted more than 2 1/2 hours during which time the victim received IV fluids and oxygen. Once the man was extricated from the trench, firefighters rushed him to a hospital for treatment of hypothermia and lacerations.

As most trench collapses are fatal, this worker is clearly fortunate to be alive. Like a victim of a work injury in Illinois, he will be entitled to pursue financial assistance with medical expenses and lost wages due to absence from work. Workers' compensation insurance benefits typically cover these losses. However, in the aftermath of a traumatic incident such as this one, the victim may suffer PTSD. He may want to seek the help of an experienced workers' compensation attorney to pursue additional compensation if applicable to the circumstances.

Source: kansascity.com, "Firefighters rescue worker trapped in KC trench collapse", Glenn E. Rice, Robert A. Cronkelton, Nov. 30, 2016

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