For Over 30 Years

Aggressive Personal Injury
Legal Representation

blog home Construction Accidents Who Is Responsible for Trench Collapses?

Who Is Responsible for Trench Collapses?

By Grant Law Office on August 2, 2021

Construction machinery at a site with mounds of dirt in the background.Trenches are narrow channels dug out of the earth with heavy equipment. They are used for laying or repairing underground utility lines, such as gas, water, or sewage. Trenches are also common in road construction projects.

When trenches are built on construction sites, there is always the possibility of collapse. Construction companies and employers are responsible for properly evaluating the risk of a trench collapse, using designs and safety features that reduce the risk, and finding alternative solutions if a trench could be dangerous for workers.

How Do Trench Collapses Happen on Construction Sites?

A number of different factors can contribute to trench collapses on construction sites. Common causes include:

  • Soil that is dry or loose
  • Rain, sleet, hail, or wet weather
  • Vibrations caused by construction equipment
  • Pressure on trench walls from heavy equipment or loads
  • Excavated materials placed too close to the trench
  • Failure to inspect the trench after weather events and before each shift
  • Inadequate protection systems

What Safety Measures Must Employers and Workers Follow?

Vertical walls composed of soil are generally unstable, and disturbances can cause the walls to collapse. Protection systems are needed to ensure worker safety. The best type of system will depend on trench depth, soil type, soil moisture, and other factors. Types of trench protection systems include:

  • Sloping: With this method, the trench wall is cut back at an angle to make a continual slope. Sloping shifts the weight of the soil away from workers and helps prevent trench collapse.
  • Benching: Instead of leaving unstable vertical walls, trench walls are cut back into a series of steps that gradually descend to the deepest point of the trench.
  • Trench boxes: Also known as trench shields or trench sheets, trench boxes are designed to protect workers from the pressure and weight of the soil in case of a cave-in. They do not support the trench walls. For trench boxes to provide proper protection, they must be used properly. Workers should always place the trench box before entering the trench, always enter directly into the box, never work in the trench outside the box, and never move the box while workers are in the trench.
  • Reinforcement of trench walls: Once a trench has been dug, the walls should be stabilized with supports and shoring. A support system can be constructed using timber posts, shores, planking and hydraulic jacks.

In addition to installing protection systems, it is essential to pile excavated materials at least two feet away from the edge of the trench, keep equipment away from the edge, and refrain from working around the edge of the trench if workers are below.

How Can You Recover Compensation for Trench Collapse Injuries?

If you have been hurt on the job in a Georgia trench collapse, you should be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp should cover all your medical expenses related to trench collapse injuries. It should also reimburse you for a portion of your lost wages. If a party other than your employer contributed to the trench collapse through negligence, you could file a third-party claim to pursue additional compensation from the liable parties.

Call Grant Law Office at (404) 995-3955 if you have been seriously injured in a trench collapse accident. We offer a free consultation with no time limit. Wayne Grant has been named among the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers and rated Superb on Avvo. Our husband and wife team of Atlanta personal injury lawyers are dedicated to providing high-quality, aggressive representation to injury victims.

Related Articles:

Contact us today for a free and comprehensive case evaluation.

We require no legal retainer or upfront fees,
and you pay nothing unless we prevail.

Phone: (404) 995-3955

Our Results

Wrongful Death Day Care Case

View More

Firm News

Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure

Kim Grant participated in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, walking over 60 miles over three days and raising ...

Habitat for Humanity

Kim and Wayne Grant have worked on two Habitat for Humanity Houses and look forward to working on more ...

Grady Hospital Volunteer Work

Kim Grant has donated volunteer hours in Atlanta, including rocking babies in the neonatal intensive care unit at Grady ...

Read more news

Our Blog


How to Guide Your Teen Down the Path to Driver Safety

Young, inexperienced drivers are far more likely to be involved in a serious or fatal vehicle accident. The…


Who Can Be Held Liable After an Elevator Accident?

When you choose to use an elevator, the last thing on your mind may be the risk of…


How a Spinal Cord Injury Leads to Chronic Pain

Spinal cord injury (SCI) can be complete or incomplete. With complete SCI, there is no sensation or motor…

Read more news

Grant Law Office Disclaimer: The legal information offered herein by Grant Law Office, is not formal legal advice, nor is it the formation of an attorney client relationship. In order for our firm to be considered your attorney there must be a signed agreement between the client and the firm. Any results set forth herein are based solely upon the circumstances of that particular case and offer no promise or guarantee on the outcome of any other case. Please contact a lawyer for a consultation.

© 2021 Grant Law Office - All rights reserved.

Photos by Carroll Morgan - Buckhead On-Site Photography | Website Design and Legal Internet Marketing by: SLS Consulting Scholarship
*Wayne Grant has been practicing law since 1979. Grant Law Office was founded in 2000.


What you need to know about the 2-year statute of limitation law

Worried that the 2-year statute of limitations is rapidly approaching on your serious injury or medical malpractice case? Contact us and we can talk to you about the Judicial Emergency declared by the Supreme Court of Georgia and how it affects the statute of limitations for your case (in a good way.) Please call or email us through our web contact form and we would be happy to discuss your case.

Schedule a free consultation