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Trench collapse under investigation after worker injured

Russell Hixson
Trench collapse under investigation after worker injured

A construction worker was rescued by fire crews last week after a trench collapsed on him in Surrey, B.C.

Assistant Surrey Fire Chief Brian Woznikoski said workers were installing a sewer line at a private residence at 104th Avenue and 158th Street on July 29.

After one of the workers stepped outside of a caged area, the trench collapsed.

Two workers were able to escape, while one was buried up to his hips.

Surrey’s fire crews and tech rescue team responded shortly before 1 p.m. and began digging and venting the trench as they prepared their shoring equipment.

Woznikoski said the man was eventually able to free himself and climb up a ladder.

The worker was transported to hospital with minor injuries.

"He was very fortunate," Woznikoski said.


Officials said WorkSafeBC is investigating the incident.

Candice Brown, a safety and injury management advisor with B.C. Construction Safety Alliance said that while trench collapse incidents are not common, workers and employers should take precautions.

Brown said trenches are often used to do utilities work or put in substructures.

This can create crushing, caving or sloughing hazards.

Brown said shoring tools, excavator work or cages can be used to help minimize these risks.

According to WorkSafeBC regulations, excavation work must be done in accordance with written instructions from a qualified professional if it is more than 6 metres deep, near a structure, if vibration or hydrostatic pressure will likely be occurring, or if there is significant ground sloping.

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