Monday, March 08, 2004

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Worker Dies in Trench Collapse

By Rick Hightower, WISH TV, Indianapolis

A plumbing sub-contractor was buried alive while working in a trench at a northeast side subdivision in the Geist area Monday afternoon. There was no escape for the man who experts say was working in the trench that may not have been properly shored up.

The victim, an Hispanic male in his 30's, had been working with another man in the trench when one man went on a break. When he came back he saw the 12-foot deep dirt walls collapse on his co-worker.

It took a team from the fishers rescue task force assisted by a Pike Township rescue team over two hours to find the body.

The two men had been laying sewer pipe in what authorities say is a trench between 12 and 15 feet deep.

“We noticed there's no box in this trench. That's what shores up so if the walls do come in the box holds the walls from collapsing,” said Ron Lipps of the Fishers Fire Department. “And unfortunately since those weren't there, there was nothing to keep the dirt from falling on this gentlemen."


UPDATE: The victim's name was Javier Marquez, age 33.

And the company's defense?
"We take our safety training pretty seriously," [R.T. Moore Company Vice President John] Bennett said. "We comply with all the safety guidelines we're expected to." Bennett disputed the size of the trench as reported by fire officials, claiming it was 11 feet deep.
Nice try John, but the OSHA regulation states that the trench has to be supported if it's more than 5 feet deep. I'm putting you in the running for the "Stupidist Statement Following a Fatality" contest.

More information here.