Always Use Protection

There seems to be an increase in trench fatalities of late that is catching a lot of people’s attention.

There was the Macomb, Michigan trench cave-in where rescue personnel freed workers after three long hours. (August 21, 2017)

A Wyoming, Michigan trench collapse where a father and son were working together on a home project when the trench caved-in. Tragically, the son never made it out. (October 9, 2017)

The headlines pour in like Class C soil:

  • December 11, 2017: Richmond, Kentucky, Trench Collapse Leaving One Dead
  • December 15, 2017: Sandy, Utah, Man Dies After Trench Collapse
  • December 20, 2017: Wichita, Kansas, Man Dies After Trench Collapse
  • December 28, 2017: Warren County, Ohio, Trench Cave-In
  • February 16, 2018: Columbus Junction, Iowa, Worker Dies in Trench Collapse
  • February 24, 2018: New Castle, Pennsylvania: Man Rescued from Trench Collapse
  • February 26, 2018: Sterling Heights, Michigan, Trench Collapse
  • March 5, 2018: Brandon Township, Michigan, Man Rescued from Trench Collapse

My understanding after reading these news reports, and I say my understanding because there is always more to the story, no protection system was in place on any of these work sites.


Yes, I could turn this into a shameless plug for my company, ALLEN TRENCH SAFETY, or for Ultra-Shore, a lightweight solution to heavy problems.

See what I did there?

But the truth is I don’t care what you use. Sloping or benching, if done correctly, are both very safe options. Use a steel box, or aluminum, or hydraulic struts. There are wailer systems too. A complete buffet of trench safety systems is at your fingertips. Choose what works for you.

If I may, let me give you some pointers in making this important choice:

  • Choose a system that your machine can handle. (Surprisingly this is a real issue. With mini-excavators fewer systems are available that will not max out lifting capacities.)
  • Choose a system that is easy to transport. (This will be different for each company. Some have dedicated trailers for their trench safety equipment, while others will transport by pick-up or big rig. If you load the trench box at the shop will there be a dedicated piece of equipment to load the trench safety system or will it need to be done by hand?)

There is no one size fits all! But regardless of what you choose, ALWAYS USE PROTECTION! Don’t let the next headline be about you.

If I can be of service in helping you choose a system that fits your needs, well, give me a call.

From the Trenches,

Chris Allen


P.S. While the ink was drying on this post there was a new cave-in, in the Dayton, Ohio area. Again, it looks like no safety system was in place. They dug the worker out in six butt-puckering hours and then transported him to a nearby medical facility. Thankfully, he seems to be no worse for wear.