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How common are trench collapses?

Over the years, many New York and federal laws and regulations have been put in place to protect workers and to deter employers putting employees at unreasonable risk of harm. However, even when workers and employers are following every rule and regulation, a work-related accident can occur in the blink of an eye, leaving an employee seriously injured.

One way this often occurs is via a trench collapse. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 54 people die per year in these accidents. It is likely that hundreds more are injured every year by trench cave-ins. Nearly half of all deaths related to trench collapses involve companies with 10 or fewer employees, but they can occur in any setting.

As these incidences continue to happen throughout New York and America, state and federal regulators search for ways to keep workers safe. Addressing safe work practices, engineering controls and the use of protective equipment may help ensure employers adequately protect their employees.

Those who have been injured in an unsafe working environment may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. A successful claim can help the injured to recover medical expenses and lost wages.

Making a claim for workers' compensation benefits is not like filing a lawsuit. Unlike a personal injury lawsuit, a workers' compensation claim does not require proving that anyone's negligence led to the injury. However in many cases, employers and their insurance companies fail to honor injured workers' claims, or provide the injured with insufficient benefits. At times like these, it's important for the injured to have the help of attorneys with experience in workers' compensation law.

Source: CDC, "Trenching and Excavation," accessed on July 5, 2015

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