Were You Injured in a Trench Collapse Accident?
Trench and excavation collapses are serious threats at New York construction sites. They are one of the most common ways that construction workers are injured or killed. Out of approximately 1,000 trench collapses, 50 to 100 workers die each year, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that people who work in excavated areas have more than twice the death rate of construction workers in other places. In the wake of such a tragedy, you need an experienced New York City trench collapse accident lawyer to help you recover all of the compensation you deserve.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a trench or excavation accident at a New York construction site, the highly experienced lawyers at David Resnick & Associates, P.C., are ready to help. Call 212-279-2000 today or contact the firm through our online form for a free initial evaluation of your construction injury claim.
New York City Construction Site Excavation Injuries
Trench collapses can be deadly. Not only are workers at risk of being buried alive, but they can also face suffocation or crushing injuries. A trench or excavation that collapses can also create hazards such as explosions from broken gas lines. Even if an excavation or trench doesn’t collapse, workers are still at risk from low-oxygen conditions or the potential of being struck by tools or materials falling into the excavated area.
Whenever workers enter any form of excavation such as trenches, pits, and foundations, they are at risk of being injured or killed by a collapse or other hazard. That’s why regulations set strict rules for companies to take steps to prevent the possibility that workers will be buried alive.
But contractors frequently break those rules, taking shortcuts to get the job done faster or cheaper. During a stepped-up enforcement program, the New York Department of Buildings conducted 5,300 inspections of excavations in the city, which resulted in more than 3,200 violations and nearly 1,000 stop-work orders. According to OSHA, the fatality rate for excavation work is more than double the rate for general construction.
Planning is the key when it comes to trenches and excavations. Before digging begins, contractors are required to take into account issues such as proximity of other structures, the type of soil, traffic, groundwater, utility lines and other factors.
Depending on the depth of the trench and the type of soil, contractors must either slope the sides at a certain grade or install trench boxes or a shield to prevent cave-ins. They are also required to install escape routes such as ladders, stairs or ramps.
Once a trench or an excavation has been dug, companies are required to inspect it on a daily basis to make sure it is still safe. Inspections are also required after rainstorms or other events that might compromise the trench’s integrity.
Another consideration with workers in excavated areas is the possibility that materials or tools could fall into the trench and injure people working there. Regulations require contractors to take steps to avoid those types of accidents.
Liability in an NYC Trench Collapse
While workers’ compensation coverage can offer some financial help, it often does not adequately cover the costs involved, especially if the accident results in long-term disability or death. By identifying a negligent third party, however, a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit may provide a more substantial recovery for workers and their families.
If a worker is injured or a family suffers the loss of one of its members due to a trench collapse, a number of parties could be held responsible. While most people might think the employer is solely accountable for any accidents that involve an excavation, there can be others involved who share the blame.
Manufacturers, subcontractors, property owners, developers and other types of third parties may also be at fault for the injuries or deaths that result from this kind of accident. These entities can be liable because of defective equipment or safety hazards that may have contributed to the trench collapse.
Protecting Construction Workers in a New York City Excavation
Although excavations are very dangerous, there are steps that responsible parties can take to protect workers. Some of the measures include:
- Constructing protective systems that follow the standard requirements.
- Planning ahead by contacting gas and electric utilities to find underground lines.
- Testing for low oxygen, hazardous fumes and gases to make sure there is enough ventilation.
- Making sure there is safe access into and out of the excavation site.
- Inspecting the site at the beginning of each shift and following a rainstorm or any other kind of event that may increase hazards.
- Keeping the excavation area open the minimum amount of time needed in order to complete daily operations.
Hurt in a Trench Collapse or Excavation Accident? Call Our NYC Construction Injury Lawyer Today
If you or someone you love is the victim of injuries due to a trench collapse and a party other than your employer is to blame, you could be entitled to receive damages in addition to workers’ comp benefits. The New York City construction accident attorney of David Resnick & Associates, P.C., knows how to evaluate construction accident claims and can help you determine whether the negligence of a third party caused or contributed to your injuries.
We serve victims of trench and excavation accidents throughout New York City, including Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island.
We offer a free initial evaluation of your claim. Our trench collapse attorneys will negotiate a prompt, fair and just settlement or fight aggressively to ensure that you receive full maximum compensation in accordance with the law. Call 212-279-2000 today or use our online contact form.