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Trenches can pose major safety hazards to workers

Many construction sites in both New City and the surrounding suburban and urban areas of greater New York City will have trenches. This is because workers often have to excavate in order to access underground utilities, lay foundation and do other important tasks.

While necessary, trenches pose many hazards to construction workers, and it is up to the employers of those workers, and others, to make sure that the workers stay safe.

Perhaps the most common risk trenches pose is that the can easily collapse. When a trench collapses, hundreds of pounds of dirt and debris can rapidly fill in an occupied trench, crushing or suffocating the workers the workers below.

However, there are other dangers that working in trench will pose as well. For instance, live electric wires or other utility lines can cause injuries. In other cases, even an intact trench may have unhealthy levels of toxic gas, including carbon dioxide, or may just have inadequate air supply.

There are a lot of steps employers need to take in order to make sure that the workers in their care stay safe. For instance, federal regulations specify that trenches over a certain depth have to include some sort of structure for preventing a collapse. Likewise, employers must keep heavy equipment and loads away from the edges of a trench and be sure to double check trenches for signs of collapse after wet weather.

A New York worker injured in a trench collapse may have a number of legal options. For instance, they may be able to apply for workers' compensation benefits. In certain construction workers' accidents, additional options for recovering compensation may be available.

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