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Construction trench collapses, worker killed

As New York City construction workers know, trenches can be extremely dangerous. If the walls of a trench are not properly reinforced, it is very possible that there will be a collapse, resulting in serious injuries to those who are working in the trench -- and far too often, fatalities.

That is what happened a week ago in Frisco, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. Work on a water line was going on there when the walls of a trench suddenly gave way, trapping a construction worker as he labored late in the afternoon.

Firefighters responded to a call for help, but were not able to extricate the man. Less than an hour after the collapse, a city official issued a statement saying that the man had died.

A local police spokesperson said the department would not be conducting an investigation as it would if it suspected the death were due to criminal activity, but that it would simply try to ensure that the event was documented. He said, "This was strictly an unfortunate construction accident."

While much of that statement and sentiment is undoubtedly accurate from his point of view, the reality is that in some similar cases, the incident is more than just an unfortunate accident. In some cases, the death is caused by a construction company owner or manager who decides to forgo required trench-safety measures to hurry a job along, thereby putting workers in grave danger.

We certainly don't know why the collapse happened in Frisco, but we hope investigators take a close look at why the trench collapsed, rather than merely documenting that it did cave in on the worker.

Source: Plano Star, "Construction accident near Main Street results in fatality (updated)," Jan. 29, 2013

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