April 1, 2022 | Becky Marambio

Trench Collapse – 2 Workers Trapped

trench collapse

We had a local trench collapse in our city. Local headlines read:

“Safety device not present at Powell trench collapse.”

“Will anyone be held responsible for Powell trench collapse?”

“Powell trench collapse crews honored at Knox County Commission meeting.”

Details from WVLT articles:

  • 15 ft deep trench collapse
  • 1 worker fully buried
  • 2nd worker buried to his waist
  • 6-8 hours spent freeing them
  • both rescued
  • English-Spanish communication barriers
  • concern of 2nd collapse due to loose soil from recent weather

Question being asked: Was a trench box used?

Construction work is a dangerous business! It is heartbreaking to see these news reports.

Before we start pointing fingers and placing blame, let the Tennessee Occupational Safety & Health Administration complete their investigation. There was already a lot of initial speculation before any investigation could be completed, hence the comment questioning the trench box. There is much more information to gather to have a complete investigation. It is more than just ONE question!

And let’s focus on the positive in that the first responders were trained for this type of situation, and because of that training, these workers were able to be rescued, and there was a happy ending to this story.

But there are lessons to be learned with any incident as it very well could have ended in a terribly different manner. Hopefully, the investigation will identify and fix all of the root causes so there is not a repeat of this incident. And this is for all involved – the primary company and any subcontractors. That’s where TapRooT® excels at investigations because it provides the investigator with questions to consider in all categories and does not rely on the knowledge or experience of the investigator. TapRooT® provides a systematic process to find and fix ALL of the root causes identified in the investigation.

What investigation system does your company use? Is it finding ALL the root causes? Are you seeing repeat incidents? That’s a clear sign you need a better process. Attend a TapRooT® course to can learn a systematic process to find the REAL root causes (yes, multiple) so an incident doesn’t happen again.

System Improvements is also available to facilitate investigations using the TapRooT® process if you need someone from the outside to complete the investigation. Give us a call at 865-539-2139.

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