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Worker killed in trench collapse
Crews unable to rescue man at home site
WEb trench rescue 4 jd
Rescuers from several agencies work to free a man who was buried in a trench collapse Tuesday at a new home site off Trammel Road. - photo by Jim Dean

A construction worker died Tuesday afternoon after he was buried in a trench collapse at a new home site off Trammel Road.

Forsyth County Sheriff's Capt. Tim House identified the man as 20-year-old Aaron Banks of Covington.

Emergency workers were not able to free Banks after the accident, which occurred about 2:30 p.m. at the undeveloped Waterstone Falls subdivision, southeast of Cumming.

Forsyth County Fire Capt. Jason Shivers said the investigation into what caused the collapse has been turned over to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA.

Mike Wald, a spokesman for OSHA, said the investigation could take six months. He explained that OSHA probes are conducted to determine if any of its standards have been violated.

Shivers did not know what company Banks worked for or what type of work he was doing at the site.

Bystanders had cleared Banks' head of dirt by the time emergency personnel arrived.

Shivers said about 40 emergency workers, including the fire department’s trench rescue team and a technical rescue squad from Gwinnett County Fire Department, took part in the rescue operation.

About 4 p.m., paramedics determined Banks had died, Shivers said. His body was freed about 40 minutes later.

Members of the Forsyth County Water and Sewer Department used a vacuum truck to remove the heavy, soggy soil from the site.

Shivers explained that while firefighters regularly train with technical rescue equipment, the opportunity to hone their skills in a lifelike situation is rare.

The department welcomed firefighters from other jurisdictions in 2008 to participate in exercises that included working in an L-shaped trench in the ground.