Questions about safety precautions where worker was trapped - FOX 13 News

Questions about safety precautions where worker was trapped

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APOLLO BEACH (FOX 13) -

OSHA has confirmed to FOX 13 that they are investigating the collapse of a trench that led to the three-hour rescue of a trapped worker.

OSHA says an early question is why a trench box wasn't built by workers at Deme Construction.

Hillsborough Co. Fire Rescue says trench boxes are wooden structures built to prevent a trench of caving in on workers.

Trench boxes are required if a hole is deeper than five feet.

But if workers decide not to use one, a competent person has to have evaluated the site first.

"All safety procedures were taken, as they always are," said Andrew Deme, a partner at Deme Construction. "We did not build a trench box because the banks of the excavation were cut at the necessary slope for a safe operation."

Andrew Deme's brother, Alex Deme, placed a 911 call at around 3PM Thursday, when he first heard of the collapse.

"This is extremely life threatening. This is a very serious call," he told a 911 operator. "There's a lot of water involved. It's very soft ground. The gentleman is stuck in the ground, I don't know how deep he is."

The man was waist-deep in a nine-foot hole.

"This is the most dangerous industry in the world that we are in," said Alex Deme.

Dozens of firefighters and excavators and pump trucks were needed to get him out.

"When you think about the fact that soil weighs a hundred pounds per cubic foot, that's a lot of weight pulling that gentleman down and holding onto him," said Clint Roberts of Hillsborough Co. Fire Rescue.

OSHA will also be examining the site and doing interviews, maybe even with the still unidentified worker.

Deme construction will only say they are glad he escaped serious injury and is resting at home with family.

Rescue workers say the three-hour rescue wasn't just about moving mud.

"One of the things I've got to do is get you to believe in me. I have to get you to calm down. I also have to get you to fight to stay alive," said Roberts.

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