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Trench collapse victim suffers workplace injury

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently launched another campaign to address trench safety because of the high numbers of cave-ins. Trench collapses have claimed so many lives of workers in Illinois and elsewhere that it is almost unheard of for anyone to escape with a nonfatal workplace injury. However, miracles happen, and a construction worker was recently saved after a trench wall collapsed on him in Morris.

According to a police report, the incident happened on a recent Monday at a residential site where construction workers were excavating a trench with a depth of over seven feet. A worker was inside the yet unprotected trench when one wall caved in. Reportedly, the soil mass pinned the 49-year-old worker against the opposite wall.

The report also indicates that about 20 agencies joined the Morris Fire Department in the rescue process. They worked from about 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. to extricate the worker and bring him to safety. Rescuers say the victim remained alert and conscious throughout the rescue, and when he was airlifted to the hospital, his condition was stable.

Safety authorities say the weight of the soil when a trench collapse could be as much as that of a small car. Fortunately, this worker was not buried, which is how most workers lose their lives in cave-ins. Any victim of a workplace injury in Illinois might be eligible for workers' compensation benefits that typically cover medical expenses and lost wages. The process might seem daunting, but an experienced workers' compensation attorney's support and guidance could simplify the claims procedures.

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