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The dangers of trenches on construction sites

On Behalf of | May 22, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

If you work in construction, then you are at constant risk of a career or even life-ending injury. It would only take one piece of bad luck, or one mistake or oversight by someone else for things to go horribly wrong.

Construction trenches are one of the biggest hazards. While most people working in and around them go home each day without injury, when things go wrong they can be serious. Here are a few dangers to be aware of:

Things inside the trench

Excavating a trench can be dangerous. There may be electricity cables, gas or water pipes under the surface. In some cases, noxious gasses could be released which could overwhelm someone working inside.

Trench collapse

Employers must ensure trench walls are adequately supported before asking anyone to go into one. They must also carry out regular checks as stability can reduce over time, especially if the trench is sited on a slope. Inclement weather, water leakage and the passage of heavy machinery close by can all weaken soil stability making a collapse more likely.

Things falling into the trench


When you work inside a trench you are at serious risk from anything that falls into it. That could range from a colleague dropping a tool onto your head or falling on top of you themselves to a heavy spool of cable rolling down into the trench when dislodged by a passing vehicle.


Employers must consider trench safety when sitting stores of materials around the site and must adequately sign and cordon off trenches to warn people about them and protect those inside.

In the case that you are injured inside a trench you should be able to claim workers’ compensation, but you may need legal guidance to get the full amount you are due.