If the weather seems to be a bit strange lately, your mind is not playing tricks on you. Indeed, according to reporting from USA Today, the U.S. is in store for a triple-dip La Niña winter. This means you could see fewer snow storms and less precipitation, even if temperatures are quite chilly.
With less snow and rainfall, soil becomes dry and potentially shifty. If you regularly work in or near a construction trench, dry and shifty soil may put your life in danger. Furthermore, when it finally rains, previously dry soil around trenches may have a greater chance of collapsing.
Why do construction trenches collapse?
Construction trenches can collapse for a variety of reasons, including poor construction and the proximity of heavy equipment. Still, soil condition plays an oversized role in trench collapses in the U.S.
Dry soil does not hold together as well as moist soil, making dry weather risky for trench workers. Likewise, oversaturated soil is heavy, which can cause or contribute to a trench collapse. Either way, construction crews must closely monitor the condition of soil around the trench.
How can you stay safe?
Because you are not likely to be the person who digs the trench, you may have to rely on assurances from your supervisor about the trench’s condition. Still, it is not wise to climb into a trench after heavy rain or snowfall. You also should locate the emergency exits so you can plan your escape route.
Even if you are diligent and smart, you may not be able to eliminate your odds of suffering a catastrophic injury in a trench collapse. Ultimately, though, you may be eligible for substantial workers’ compensation benefits to help you through your recovery.