The North Carolina State's Centennial Campus witnessed a fatal work accident recently.
It happened when a worker got trapped under several feet of dirt while completing a trench project, according to NBC 17. The North Carolina State Police report that workers were hired with J.F. Wilkerson Contracting in Morrisville. They were installing a 16-inch, 18,000-foot line pipe when the trench collapsed. The accident site was near the intersection of Achievement and Main Campus Drive. The 39-year-old worker wasn't recovered by emergency responders until about two and a half hours after arriving on the scene of the accident. They had to vacuum out the soil from the trench. They weren't able to approach it any other way because of the unstable ground conditions.
Our Raleigh workers' compensation lawyers understand that there were close to 300 workers who were killed in trenching and excavation accidents in the U.S. from 2000 to 2006.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to 70 percent of these fatalities occur within companies that have less than 50 employees. Regulations and consensus standards describe engineering controls, protective equipment, and safe work practices to minimize hazards for workers during trench work and excavations. Employers need to make sure that they know these regulations inside and out before starting any project. The safest of their employees relies on it.
The project is run by the City of Raleigh. These water lines were eventually going to lead to Lonnie Poole Golf Course.
The company hired for the job was recognized back in 2006 as an overall winner for a national safety award by the National Utility Contractors Association.
Joe Wilkerson, the founder of the company, said that he decided to make safety a number one priority when he saw his company noted for having a poor safety record in The News & Observer in the 1970s.
This isn't the first time the company has worked with the city either. In the project's case, they were the lowest responsible bidder and were therefore chosen for the job.
The truth of the matter is that these kinds of jobs are extremely dangerous and require the utmost attention to detail to ensure that all workers are safe! It's important to make sure that all workers are properly trained. The job needs to be planned well in advance and the proper safety equipment needs to be provided to workers at no cost. There should never be any workers under the age of 18 in these trenches. Companies are also urged to call 8-1-1 before digging into the ground to avoid hitting any utility line and to avoid causing a serious accident. Trenches should never be approached or entered when unprotected. Safety is a group effort. Make sure your employer and your fellow coworkers keep safety as a number one priority!