Company owners in California have a duty to provide safe workplace surroundings for all their workers. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes strict safety regulations, and employers who fail to comply with these regulations may be unable to avoid workers' injuries. One situation that could be especially hazardous is sending workers into unsupported trenches.
Two workers in another state recently lost their lives after a trench collapse. The accident occurred while workers were busy with the installation of a French drain at a private residence. Colleagues of the deceased reported that one worker jumped into the collapsing trench to save a fellow-worker. Sadly, his attempts were in vain as he was also overwhelmed by the collapsing dirt.
The body of the first worker was recovered that day, but the search for the second body continued and was only recovered later. The bodies were apparently covered by approximately 10 feet of dirt, and it is unknown whether there were any form of support present to prevent the walls of the trench from collapsing. One more worker was transported to the hospital for treatment of injuries that were reported to be minor.
Families of California workers who have suffered fatal workers' injuries may be facing financial difficulties after having to cope with end-of-life expenses. The workers' compensation insurance fund aims to assist surviving family members by providing financial aid. The families may claim death benefits that usually include coverage for a funeral and burial, along with some form of wage compensation.
Source: CBS New York, "Two Workers Dead After Being Trapped In Trench Collapse At Boonton, NJ Home", , Oct. 2, 2014