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Georgia workplace accident smothers 2 in trench collapse

The collapse of a trench at a construction site in Georgia killed two men who were trapped when the dirt wall gave way on Aug. 25. The workplace accident occurred during preparation for the expansion of an apartment complex. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration launched an investigation but said that it may take six months to know exactly why the cave-in occurred or if any OSHA regulations were violated.

A coroner said that the two people killed in the accident were a 50-year-old man and a 46-year-old man. Accidental asphyxia was listed as the cause of their deaths. The construction company workers were part of a six-man crew in the trench when it collapsed. A rescue team consisting of 20 men worked to save the men, who were related to each other. The son of the 50-year-old victim was operating a backhoe when the cave-in happened and joined the fight to save his father's life.

The men in the trench were using a tamp to pack in dirt. Four of the workers escaped the collapse and also tried to free the trapped men. A backhoe was used to shovel out the dirt and reclaim the bodies. A rescue official said that the construction site trench was 30 feet deep, and the men were trapped 12 feet down. The rescue effort had to be done carefully, because of the composition and compaction of the soil meant that the rest of the trench could collapse and kill more people.

An on-the-job injury can end a career. A Georgia lawyer experienced in helping victims of workplace accidents may be able to help arrange workers' compensation as well as other funds for medical expenses, lost wages and other damages.

Source: WTVM, "OSHA launches investigation into deadly trench collapse", Samantha Perpignand, August 29, 2013

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