Construction workers in Arizona and elsewhere know the hazards posed by trenches. However, many of them still enter unprotected trenches, even when their employers fail to provide adequate support to prevent cave-ins. A construction worker who was one of the few survivors of a trench collapse in 2002 now explains his experience in an effort to create awareness of the dangers of taking shortcuts that could cause fatal work accidents.
He says he was 27 years old, newly married and planning to leave on his honeymoon with his new bride that afternoon. First, he had to lay a waterline at a depth of six feet in a trench. There was no time to wait for the protective trench box that was due to be delivered. He was crouching down when the trench walls collapsed, and he was crushed by the soil that engulfed him.