Worker missing after trench collapse at Little Nell Apartments in Houston

Houston Fire Department rescued one man but another man remains buried after a trench collapsed around 7:30pm on Friday January 6, 2012. The two men were working on a drainage project at the Little Nell Apartments in the 8220 block of West Sam Houston Parkway at Beechnut when the dirt surrounding the trench collapsed in on them. Approximately 40 firefighters were involved in the rescue effort, but unfortunately the man who remained buried is presumed dead. A photograph of the scene on Channel 2 News’ web site shows heavy construction equipment present but it is not clear from the news report if that equipment was already present or was part of the rescue effort. One 28-year old workers was pulled from the trench at around 9:25PM and was transported to hospital, though his condition was not reported. A story on the trench collapse by ABC Channel 13 indicates that the collapsed trench was behind the apartment complex, and may not have been on the property. The same article indicates that the cause of the collapse was when a slough around the trench pushed a pipe, pinning one worker and burying the other. FOX News Houston’s coverage reports the trench was 12 feet deep and 8 feet wide.  Certainly with a trench that is deeper than it is wide, one would hope the trench had the appropriate protective system to minimize the chance of a collapse.

OSHA’s web site includes extensive information regarding trenching safety practices, including the use of a trenching protective system to stop the trench walls collapsing in on workers.

Two workers were buried when a drainage project trench collapsed on 01.06.2012 at the Little Nell Apartments