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Worker is injured in trench accident

Author / Coordinator: Adam Tobias
Watertown Daily Times
May 2006

A worker with McGrath Electric Inc. in Janesville was seriously injured Wednesday following a construction accident at Watertown Memorial Hospital, according to Watertown Fire Chief Henry Butts.

Maas Brothers Construction Vice President Tony Meyers, who was on the hospital grounds at the time of the accident, said the McGrath Electric worker was installing electrical conduits underground in a 4-foot trench when the side of one of the walls collapsed on his knee.

“The trench was about 4 feet deep so when the one piece took his knee out, it pushed him against the other bank and he hit the side of his head against the blacktop on the other side of the trench,” Meyers said. “He was wearing his hard hat, but a hard hat does not always help you when hit the side of your head.”

Andy McGrath, owner of McGrath Electric Inc., could not be reached as of press time today to identify the worker who was injured.

Meyers said about five McGrath Electric employees helped free the injured worker, who was covered in dirt from his knee down to the ground. He added it took a couple minutes to remove the worker from the dirt and that he was able walk up the trench ladder on his own power.

“Fortunately there were people there to get him out when they did,” Butts said.

The Watertown Fire Department transported the worker to Watertown Memorial Hospital at 12:58 p.m., but Butts added he was later flown by helicopter to another hospital which he could not identify.

Meyers said he believes the injured worker was transported to the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison and that he heard from McGrath Electric employees this morning that he was doing relatively well.

“The entire time he was cognizant and he knew where he was and knew his name,” he added. “He was never unconscious.”

The accident comes just two days after members from Watertown Area Health Services broke ground for a $24 million, two-story addition to the hospital.