Trenches are common on construction sites across Illinois. After all, these trenches allow workers to build foundations, run pipes or wires and reach underground access points. Even though you may be familiar with working in and around trenches, you also should recognize their extreme danger.
According to reporting from Equipment World, 21 individuals died in trench collapses in the U.S. in 2020 alone. This number marks an alarming increase over many of the previous. Even though trenches may cave in at any time of the year, they may be particularly dangerous in the summer.
When it comes to having a structurally sound trench, precipitation is often the enemy. When soil retains moisture, it becomes both heavier and less stable. Retaining walls that had no problem holding back dry soil may fail during a downpour.
If you have lived in Illinois for any time at all, you undoubtedly know about the state’s fast-moving summertime storms. Indeed, it is not uncommon for storms to drop an inch of rain or more in a short period of time. Therefore, during the summer, it is critical to monitor the forecast and evacuate trenches when inclement weather is likely.
Because of Illinois’ notoriously cold winters, construction crews often seek to accomplish jobs quickly during the summer. While there may be nothing inherently wrong with trying to meet tight scheduling deadlines, it is never ok to cut corners when digging or reinforcing trenches. Remember, a safe trench has several places for workers to climb out quickly if necessary.
Ultimately, if wet weather or construction deadlines cause you to suffer a serious injury in a trench collapse, you may have a straightforward way to obtain the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.