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The hazards of working beneath the earth

There are probably numerous things you enjoy about your construction job. Maybe you like the physical labor, working outdoors and the good people who work alongside you. Hopefully, you make good money to enable you to support your family. Obviously, there are things you may hate about your job, such as the long hours and the way your back feels in the morning.

The one part of construction that you could do without is the danger, especially if you work in excavation. Construction in New York is already a dangerous job, but trench work accounts for 112 percent more fatalities than other areas of construction.

Dangers in the dirt

You know how dangerous it can be to crawl into a trench to repair a pipe or lay a utility line. In fact, if your job requires a trench that is deeper than 20 feet, you need a registered engineer to design it for safety. Working in a trench brings you face to face with numerous inherent dangers, including:

  • Poor oxygen levels leading to asphyxiation
  • Toxic fumes
  • Drowning
  • Cave-ins

If a trench collapse is responsible for your injuries, you will probably never forget those harrowing moments. The sides of the trench caving in brought perhaps tons of earth on top of you. You were in danger of suffocation in a matter of moments. Since use of a backhoe or large equipment may have caused injury, precious minutes passed while your co-workers attempted to dig you free.

Safety measures are available for preventing such collapses, such as trench boxes that hold the sides of a ditch in place while you work. Perhaps your contractor did not supply such an important piece of safety equipment, or perhaps you wanted to save time by skipping that step.

You don't need another struggle

No matter the reason for the cave-in, your injuries may still qualify you for workers' compensation benefits. Workers' compensation is available to cover your salary from your time off work and your medical bills. Additionally, if your construction accident resulted in permanent disability, preventing you from returning to work at all, you may be eligible to receive additional compensation.

However, claiming benefits from workers' compensation is a complicated process. You probably don't feel much like dealing with paperwork and insurance adjusters while you are struggling through a painful recovery. To maximize the chances of receiving fair compensation, a dedicated attorney will represent your interests. Such an attorney will take care of filing your papers and dealing with the tactics of insurance companies while you concentrate on getting well.

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