A construction worker died in a Poughkeepsie construction accident after a concrete wall collapsed on him at a worksite. According to a news report in the Poughkeepsie Journal, emergency workers arrived at the scene and found one worker trapped under a concrete and dirt wall and a second man knocked to the ground by the collapse. The “regional collapse team,” which includes three cities’ fire departments, was called to the scene to rescue the first man.
After 35 minutes, they found the man’s location and determined that there was an extreme danger of a second collapse. When they found the worker, medics determined he was deceased. The second man was transported to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries. The accident site is a 15-acre lumberyard that is being redeveloped into a mix of commercial space and apartments as well as a public trail.
The city’s Building Department has shut down operations at the site while the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continues to investigate the fatality. Officials say the fatal incident was caused by the partial collapse of a concrete wall holding a large amount of dirt. Workers had brought in thousands of yards of dirt for the project and there was a concrete retaining wall holding a good portion of that material in place, fire officials said.
Common Causes of Retaining Fall Failure
A retaining wall that is damaged may become a serious danger, particularly at a construction site. There are a number of ways in which a retaining wall failure can occur. For example, if the ground behind the retaining wall is not drained, it may fail. When water pools behind the retaining wall, the pressure against the wall may easily double. In order to prevent such backfill, the surface needs to be properly graded to direct water away from the wall.
Retaining wall design flaws may also cause a failure. The designer should create the wall design after properly and fully inspecting the area so all materials and design elements are tailored to its specific needs. In addition, the weight of a retaining wall can cause the soil underneath to compress or subside. This will cause the height of the wall above the grade to shrink. If it shrinks far enough, the wall may fail. Proper compaction of the soil underneath the wall is crucial to prevent this problem.
Concrete retaining walls also need to be properly reinforced in order to provide adequate strength. Reinforcement often comes in the form of rebar in the wall. Using rebar properly can be a challenge and if the rebar is not properly used, the wall may separate at the corners and fail.
Wall collapse accidents have the potential to result in catastrophic injuries or even fatalities. Construction workers may suffer injuries including, but not limited to, head trauma, severe neck or back injuries, amputations or limb loss, internal organ damage, etc. Wall collapses, as occurred in this case, may also result in death. Parties such as property managers, property owners and construction companies have a responsibility to maintain safe conditions for workers. Failure to take the necessary safety steps and provide employees with job and safety training may have devastating consequences. Injuries caused by wall collapses may prevent workers from returning to work or might even prevent them from earning a livelihood again. Such incidents not only affect the individual victim, but also his or her family.
Compensation for Injured Workers
Workers who are injured on the job can seek workers’ compensation benefits. In addition, they may also be able to file a third-party claim against a party other than the employer or co-employees, who may have caused or contributed to the worker’s injury. This allows victims and families to have two sources of compensation available for their losses. Examples of third parties include, but are not limited to, general contractors, sub-contractors, building owners, property owners, property managers etc.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction 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.
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 cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously 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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