Dirt came down

November 26, 2012 

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.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service