Thoughts on today’s trench collapse that claimed a Milford, Delaware man’s life

Sometimes I get really upset when I look at the News Journal or Delaware Online and see articles like today’s story about a trench collapse that killed a Milford man. The article can be seen here.

This morning, a trench collapsed in Bridgeville, Delaware, killing Richard A. White. The trench was 8 feet deep by 11 feet wide and 12 feet long.  White was on a crew working in the trench in the Heritage Shores Development, connecting a sewer line. The part of the article that sparked my anger is the comment by Sussex County spokesman Chip Guy. He said that for some unknown reason, the trench collapsed.

The trench collapsed because that’s what trenches do. They collapse. Especially after three days of rain. Crews working in trenches can use equipment to shore the walls of the trench. One of the most common types of trench shoring equipment is a “trench box”. It is a metal contraption that you build into the trench that prevents the sides from collapsing in on the workers. If you want to see some trench boxes, click on the North East Shoring website here.

I looked on the Fire In The Hole Photography website here. There are almost a hundred pictures of the accident scene from today. I don’t see any trench boxes. Why are there no trench boxes?



Benjamin A. Schwartz handles wrongful death and serious personal injury cases in New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County, Delaware. To speak to Ben, please contact us.

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