Trench Collapse Results in New York Construction Worker’s Death


Yesterday morning, a tragic accident at a New York City construction site caused the death of a 29-year-old worker. The accident occurred on Staten Island when a trench wall collapsed burying the worker under debris.

The 29-year-old man sustained severe head trauma as a result of the trench collapse. He was transported to Staten Island University Hospital and there he was pronounced dead.

A Department of Buildings spokesperson stated that a stop-work order for the site has been issued. The contractor will be cited for multiple violations including failing to properly shore up the trench and failing to obtain a permit.

Accidents like this bring attention to the dangers surrounding excavation sites, and the risks of trenches caving in if appropriate safety measures are not taken. Trenches need to be dug properly and have adequate support to prevent collapse. Improper shoring, as in this recent case, is one potential cause of trenches caving in. Other causes include vibration from the vehicles nearby and inadequate equipment used for reinforcement.

Unfortunately, construction companies are sometimes more concerned about saving time and money than complying with all safety regulations. Excavation and trench digging is governed by assorted state and federal laws. In some situations New York Labor Law 240 may apply which gives additional protections to workers.

If you or a loved one had been injured in a trench collapse or other construction accident an attorney can provide further information about your rights and options.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Construction worker killed in wall collapse in NYC, June 21, 2012.

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