The builder suffered leg and hip injuries after being trapped-up to his waist by earth during construction of a new science building at Benenden School in Cranbrook, Kent on Tuesday.
The injured man, an employee of Tovil-based company BBS Construction, was airlifted to hospital.
The unnamed 44-year-old was trapped when an earth bank beside an excavation gave way shortly after 9am.
Firefighters from Cranbrook and Tenterden spent almost an hour digging the man out using hand tools, before he received treatment from paramedics.
Jeff Overton, clinical operations manager for the South East Coast Ambulance Service, praised the actions of the victim’s co-workers whose quick thinking aided the rescue efforts.
Overton told thisiskent.co.uk: “This man was extremely lucky and I honestly believe that if his colleagues hadn’t used the digger to prevent further earth movement, the emergency services’ efforts in rescuing him may have been seriously hampered.”
He added: “All the emergency services worked well together in bringing about the safe rescue of this man.”