Trenches are some of the most hazardous areas on construction sites in Florida and other states. The chances of surviving being buried under tons of soil when a trench wall collapses are said to be zero. However, a worker on a Gainesville construction site recently beat the odds, and instead of his family filing a death benefits claim with the workers’ compensation system, he will likely file a claim for injuries only.
According to authorities, the construction worker was in a 10-foot deep trench that measured approximately 30 feet across. Under unknown circumstances, the trench caved in, burying the worker under about two feet of soil. He could not be seen from above. Firefighters reportedly rushed to the site after receiving an emergency call at about 9:15 a.m. Various rescue crews arrived, including a technical rescue team who has extensive training in trench rescues.
To prevent further cave-ins, rescuers carefully descended into the trench and proceeded to clear the dirt away from the worker’s head by using their hands and shovels. When they finally uncovered the victim, he was unconscious but breathing. He was stabilized, and once he was able to breathe freely, he regained consciousness. A harness and rope system was set up to lift the worker to ground level to complete the 20-minute rescue. Paramedics later reported that the worker was alert and without any apparent injuries on the drive to the hospital.
Although this worker miraculously survived the trench collapse, he will likely incur medical expenses. Also, he might be unable to return to work before a period of medical observation to identify hidden health damage. An experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorney can assist with the legal and administrative steps of claiming benefits to cover medical bills and lost wages.