A safety warning was issued after two workers were injured when a trench collapsed at a construction site in Queensland in August 2019.
Early investigations suggest that the 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.
From July 2012 to June 2018, there were 359 accepted workers’ compensation claims involving pits, trenches or excavations. Almost half of these claims resulted in a serious injury involving 5 days or more off work.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland says before starting any excavation work, the person conducting the business or undertaking (PCBU) or the principal contractor (PC) must manage risks associated with excavations in the workplaces and recommended the following:
- Identify hazards – find out what could cause harm
- Assess risks – understand the nature of the harm that could be caused by the hazard and how serious the harm and could be and the likelihood of it happening
- Control risks – implement the most effective control measure
- Review control measures – ensure they are working as planned
More information is available