Trench safety vital to prevent injury
WorkSafe Queensland has issued another reminder of the importance of managing the risks associated with excavations at the workplace, regardless of its depth following the injury of two workers in August when a trench collapsed at a construction site in Queensland.
Early enquiries of the incident in August indicate the two workers were installing footings in a trench next to a recently completed storm water pipeline.
The earth around the pipeline collapsed during the trench work. Investigations are continuing.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland said before starting any excavation work, the risks associated with this kind of task must be managed. Effective risk management starts with a commitment to health and safety from those who manage the project, including company officers.
WorkSafe also provided some statistics. From July 2012 to June 2018, there were 359 accepted workers’ compensation claims involving pits, trenches or excavations. Almost half (45%) of these claims resulted in a serious injury (involving five days or more off work).
From July 2012 to August 2019, the Office of Industrial Relations (OIR) was notified of 254 incidents involving workers or bystanders either being injured, or at risk of injury relating to excavations and trenches.
In the same period, 623 statutory notices were issued addressing the risk of trenches and excavations across all industries. Approximately 80% of the notices issued were in the construction industry.