Excavation Accident in Plymouth, MA

The construction accident that killed Charles Pace, 66, of Whitman, MA, is under investigation by Massachusetts State Police, Plymouth Police, OSHA and the district attorney’s office.

Pace was an employee of P.A. Landers in Plymouth, MA and was killed when the mound of sand he was working on collapsed, and buried his bulldozer. The windshield of the bulldozer was caved in, and the cab was filled with sand, the Boston Globe reports.

Trenching and excavating is one of the most hazardous construction operations. Excavating is defined by OSHA as “any man-made cut, cavity, trench or depression in an earth surface formed by an earth removal.”

Though Pace was evidently working above ground on a sand mound, the accident that occurred at the construction site on Tuesday posed similar hazards to a cave-in in a trench. When a trench is unprotected the walls may cave in, burying workers and equipment underneath pounds of soil. One cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car. In Pace’s case, the collapse of the sand mound caused conditions similar to a cave-in, and he was engulfed by sand.

In order to fully understand the conditions that led to the accident we will have to wait for the final results of the official investigation.

As construction season is in high-gear, now is the time to review safety topics such as trenching and excavating.  Safety talks should be conducted at your worksite at least weekly, and be relevant to the work at hand. Other safety talks included in our Tool Box Safety Talks that you may want to consider for your crew are, first aid, fall protection, construction vehicle safety, struck by hazards, and caught in between hazards.

Also, available on the OSHA website, is information on occupational heat exposure. As temperatures are rising this is a critical time to review heat exposure hazards.  You can read more about this information here.

We hope that everyone stays safe through the remainder of the busy construction season, and our condolences go out to the Pace family during this difficult time.