A trench collapse in San Antonio, Texas last week killed a worker and endangered crews and co-workers who were trying to save him.
News sources report that 36-year-old David Allen Williams was buried up to his neck after an 8’ trench at a drainage project collapsed, trapping him. Williams died during the rescue operation. San Antonio Fire Department Chief Charles Hood said no one could have survived the tonnage of clay soil that collapsed on Williams.
Recovery operations took hours, as rescue crews had to shore up the walls of the trench to prevent further collapse.
The incident is under investigation.
Trench deaths in the U.S. more than doubled from 2015 to 2016, according to OSHA statistics. "There is no excuse," said former OSHA chief Dr. David Michaels. "These fatalities are completely preventable by complying with OSHA standards that every construction contractor should know." OSHA requires 5 feet deep or greater to have a protective system unless the excavation is made entirely in stable rock.