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Pick 6: Trenching Deaths by the Numbers

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Odds of winning the lottery: 1 in 135,145,920 (multi-state, mega-millions jackpot)

Lifetime odds of dying from suffocation due to a cave-in or falling earth, or being caught in other substances: 1 in 76,223 (National Safety Council)

1: The number 1 cause of trench-related fatalities is a lack of a protective system. (Deatherage et al.2004)

5: The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that all excavations of a depth of 5 feet or more must have protective systems for workers, such as sloping or shoring. Some Canadian provinces have a 4-foot-depth protection rule.

35: An average of 35 trenching deaths occur every year in the United States. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

64:  Of worker fatalities occurring within trenches, 64 percent occur at depths of less than 10 feet. (OSHA)

100: One cubic foot of soil weighs about 100 pounds.

112: The fatality rate for excavation work is 112 percent higher than that for general construction. (US Department of Labor)

Related stories:

SafetyTalk: Working Safely in the Trenches

Fatality Report: Cave-in Kills Backhoe Operator

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