What a miserable way to go – buried by the cascading earth of a collapsing construction trench. Many a worker over the years has suffered that fate in mishaps that should be preventable. At least these days there seems to be greater awareness of the danger and a more determined effort to keep such accidents from occurring.
Alas, for reasons that the authorities now must explore, awareness was not sufficient to protect a man who died Tuesday at a construction site on N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus.
The victim, identified in news reports as 39-year-old Luis Javier Martinez of Johnston County, was working for a Morrisville-based contractor, installing a City of Raleigh water line when a cave-in buried him in several feet of dirt. It took almost two hours to extricate his body as responders had to take care to avoid a further collapse.
The accident did highlight the encouraging news that this was the first trench cave-in fatality in North Carolina since Dec. 24, 2009. Rigorous attention to safety measures by all concerned, and strict enforcement, can make a difference.