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Families of Victims of a Trench Collapse Seek to Improve Workplace Safety

Emma D'Arpino4 months ago

7KVTB reported that after a trench suddenly collapsed in Boise, Idaho and covered three workers with dirt, the families of the victims hope that the tragedy can be used to improve safety in the workplace. 

About the Trench Collapse

On May 3rd, a trench suddenly collapsed, killing two men and injuring a third victim.  Authorities say that the men were working on a sewer tap, when the trench collapsed.  The trench was nine-feet deep when it collapsed. 

One of the victims who died was Bert Smith, who was 36 years old, had recently bought a new house, and was expecting a child with his wife.  When Bert’s wife, Misty, got the phone call about the accident at the construction site, she said, “My whole world ended that day, and I had to figure out what life is going to be for myself and the kids.”  Bert had been with the Hard Rock Construction company for about a year and a half and had worked in construction for more than a decade.  His family is now trying to focus on the joy that he left behind. 

Though Misty could not talk about the details in the case, or whether any safety measures were in place that day, she said, “This shouldn’t have to happen to any family ever”, and she hopes the tragedy will help prevent other accidents.  There are still questions about how the collapse happened if the appropriate safety equipment had been in place.

One way in which the trench collapse has initiated motions for improved safety in the workplace is through the campaign that Jacob Wilcox started.  Wilcox designed t-shirts that say, “Work hard, be safe” in hopes that they will be seen around town and serve as a reminder for workers to concentrate on being safe. 

Although Wilcox didn’t know the victims personally, as a former worker for the Hard Rock Construction company, he felt like he had to do something.  The proceeds of the t-shirt sales will go towards helping the victim’s families.  A t-shirt can be purchased here (password: besafe) and a donation to help Bert Smith’s family can be made here.    

Information About Work Safety

  • According to the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in 2014 out of 4,251 worker fatalities in private industry, 20.5% were in construction.
  • A majority of fatalities of construction workers on the job happen as a result of falls, followed by electrocution, getting struck by an object, and getting caught-in/between. 
  • Additionally, in 2014 there was an average of more than 92 on the job deaths a week, which also translates to an average of more than 13 deaths every day. 


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