Construction workers rescued in West Fargo after trench collapses on them


Two construction workers had to be rescued by fire crews in West Fargo after a trench collapse left them stuck up to their knees and waist in soil.

The workers from All Finish Concrete in Moorhead were working on a new office at 311 15th St. NW on Wednesday, when the north wall of the 15-by-34 foot trench they were working in slipped onto the pair, covering them in sticky clay, according to the Forum News Service.

One of them was in particularly serious trouble, as a 2-by-10 foot concrete panel fell into him, apparently breaking his shin bones, the newspaper notes.

According to a press release from West Fargo Fire Department, local firefighters and police officers freed the worker who was trapped up to his knees shortly after arriving at the scene.

The more seriously injured worker took longer to get out, requiring tools and manpower from the Fargo Fire Department's Technical Rescue Team to remove the concrete that was pinning him.

The rescue took 34 minutes in total, with the workers then taken to the hospital.

Valley News Live reports the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating the work site, and will be "questioning how several hundred pounds of dirt could fall on the workers."

The TV station notes that All Finished Concrete employees say they are "nervous" to go back into the trench following the incident, and the work site will remain closed until it's been examined by an engineer.

The incident bears hallmarks to an accident in Lakeville, Minnesota, earlier this year, when a 51-year-old construction worker was killed after hundreds of pounds of wet soil fell on top of him. Authorities said that earth weighing as much as a small car fell onto Gerald Lyle Thompson as he was installing drain tile at the perimeter of the building lot.

In the past 10 years, across all job industries, OSHA figures show 15 people across the United States have died as the result of a wall collapse.

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