It may seem incredible, but being buried alive during a workplace accident is a type of mishap that has occurred many times in California and throughout the country. It has happened to construction workers who were working in deep construction trenches. It has happened when a building or roof collapsed, taking workers into a burial site of debris below. The worker often dies in this kind of construction accident, but it does not always end that way.
One man who was buried alive in a construction accident and lived to talk about it is now a spokesperson for safety on construction sites. In 2002, the man was on his first day of a construction job when a six foot deep trench collapsed and buried him. It took his crew 10 minutes to dig him out from a heavy covering of ground.
He now describes the fright of the experience of being buried, unable to move or talk, and thinking that no one will know to come for him. He suffered a lack of oxygen, broke all of his ribs, and necessitated years of treatment. The emotional and mental effects will likely remain with him forever.
Reportedly, an average of 40 workers dies each year while working in construction trenches nationwide. The problem is one of safety preparedness. Many of these deaths could be avoided by the use of known safety measures, but employers are not implementing those solutions.
If a California worker is injured in a construction accident, he or she will be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits, which may include the necessary rehabilitation services to restore functionality where possible. If a worker experiences difficulty in receiving his or her due compensation and medical benefits under the workers’ compensation laws, the best course of action will likely be to seek a consultation with an experienced workers’ comp attorney. The strongest response to an incorrect insurance action by one’s employer is to learn all of the pertinent information and options that may be available to correct the situation as effectively as possible.