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Staying safe in excavation sites

North Carolina construction workers whose jobs require them to work in a trench or an excavation site could face a variety of hazards. A lack of oxygen could lead to asphyxiation while inhaling toxic fumes could lead to illness. Without proper protection, workers may also be vulnerable to a cave-in. Therefore, it is important for employers to have a system in place that protects workers or reduces the odds that an accident may take place.

When people are required to work in a trench, there should be ladders or steps that are easily accessible to all. This may make it possible for them to get out quickly in an emergency situation. Inspection the site each day may make it possible to identify safety hazards such as water accumulation or changes in soil structure. For further protection, excavation sites should be kept open for as little time as possible.

Soil inspections should be conducted by someone who has specialized knowledge. In addition to soil knowledge, the person who conducts the inspection should understand OSHA procedures and have the ability and authority to eliminate hazards quickly if they are present. Materials that are excavated from a trench should be kept away from the edge. Otherwise, the weight of that material could cause a cave-in or result in equipment rolling back and over an employee.

Construction workers who are injured on the job may be eligible to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits that could include medical care and treatment. As there are often different contractors and subcontractors on a particular job site, an attorney can be of assistance in determining the coverage that is available for a particular worker.

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