A worker was killed in a construction accident involving a collapsed trench at a work site in Mamaroneck. According to a report on Patch.com, what started out as an emergency rescue effort unfortunately turned into an operation to recover the worker’s body. Emergency crews at the scene had initially requested a vacuum truck to help extract the victim from the cave in.
Police moved the specialized equipment to the scene in an effort to free the worker who was trapped, as quickly as possible. However, it appears that those efforts were not enough to save the worker. We offer our deepest condolences to the family of this deceased construction accident victim.
Construction Accident Statistics
According to a recent report from the Center for Construction Research and Training, the number of construction workers who have died on the job hit an all-time high in 2019. The report used 2011-2019 data from the U.S. Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and found that there were 1,102 construction worker deaths in 2019, which is a 41.1% increase from 2011.
The report also found that the increase in construction accident fatalities was particularly significant among Hispanic workers, surging 89.8% over nine years. While falls were the leading cause of fatal construction accidents, the study noted that seven out of 10 caught-in/between fatalities involved workers being crushed by collapsing materials.
The Danger of Trench Cave-ins
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that all trenches and excavation sites at a depth of 5 feet or more be protected against sidewall collapses. Protection may be provided through shoring of trench walls, sloping of the soil at a shallow angle or by using a protective trench box.
According to a recent report, excavation violations were the sixth-leading cause of citations issued on construction sites by the OSHA. Of those violations, failing to provide trench protection was the leading cause for an excavation citation. In fact, failing to protect a trench from collapse accounted for 805, or 67% of the 1,173 citations for serious excavation violations OSHA issued between Oct. 1, 2018 and Sept. 30, 2019.
Protective Systems Can Save Lives
Trenching systems keep workers safe from cave-ins that lead to injuries and deaths. Here are some of the most common protective systems to prevent trench cave-ins:
Sloping and benching: This refers to cutting back the trench wall at an angle to create a slope. Benching is the creation of steps like long benches to travel up and down the earthen wall. Both systems can be used by themselves or in conjunction with another.
Shoring: This refers to a support system made of timber, mechanical parts or hydraulic systems that help prevent a cave-in. They help keep the earth in place and provide an extra layer of protection that is often necessary to prevent a collapse.
Trench shield: Unlike shoring, trench shields, which are also known as trench boxes, are not meant to prevent a collapse, but rather protect the worker should a cave-in occur. While installing trench shields, the manufacturer’s warnings should be followed. No one should be in the shield when it is being moved.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
Injured construction workers can seek workers’ compensation benefits from their employers to cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. In addition, they can file a third-party claim against an entity or entities for substantial money damages and thus have two sources of compensation. Third-party claims are filed against an entity/entities (other than the employer and co-employees) who may have caused or contributed to the incident and the resulting injuries. Examples of third parties include some general contractors, sub-contractors, property owners, manufacturers of defective products, etc.
If you have suffered injuries in a construction-related accident, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
Our law firm recovered $3,375,576 for a construction worker (an undocumented immigrant) who was injured on the job – one of the highest construction case settlements in New York that year. Our law firm also recovered $3,000,000 for a man who fell and suffered two broken legs when he walked into an open elevator shaft. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and/or medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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