Trenching and Excavation Accidents
Trenching and excavation work is among the most dangerous type of construction work, with OSHA reporting that the fatality rate for trenching and excavation work is 112% higher than the rate for general construction work, meaning a worker is more than twice as likely to die on the job while performing these activities. When trenching and excavation accidents occur due to the negligence of a contractor or other employer to properly supervise a work site, the New York construction accident attorneys at Dupée & Monroe, P.C. step in to hold negligent workers, contractors, and property owners responsible and obtain compensation for injured workers and their families.
Improper Design of Trenching and Excavation Worksites Cause Deadly Accidents on New York Construction Sites
The risks and hazards associated with trenching and excavation work are manageable and preventable, yet hundreds of workers have continued to die in accidents over the years due to safety oversights and shortcuts on the worksite. At least 350 workers died in trenching and excavation accidents between 2000 and 2009, and accidents and death continue to occur on worksites. Most deaths occur when the trench collapses in on itself, and this can happen so quickly and without warning that a worker does not have time to move out of the trench to safety and can die from asphyxiation or the trauma incurred from the collapsed trench.
Contractors are required by federal law to incorporate protective system options on excavations five feet or deeper, including sloping the ground, benching the ground, shoring the trench with supports such as planking, or shielding the trench. Furthermore, workers should never be ordered to enter into a trench without a protective system in place. Nevertheless, many contractors fail to properly design and install a protective system before sending workers into the trench, and catastrophic results ensue.
Some of the most common trenching and excavating accidents can be attributed to the following causes:
- No suitable protective system in place in the trench
- Failure to provide safe access in and out of the trench, including suitable ladders, ramps, and stairways that are stable and within range of workers
- Failure to inspect the trench on a regular basis, especially after a dangerous event such as a rainstorm
- Lengthening of excavation times beyond what is necessary to complete work
- Failure to properly analyze soil for danger of cave-ins
- Placement of excavated soil too close to the trench
Let Experienced New York Construction Accident Lawyers Help You Recover From Your Trenching and Excavation Accident Injuries
Most injuries and deaths occurring at trenching and excavation sites are preventable and are the result of improper supervision and design by the operators of the worksite. Contractors and other employers have a duty to make worksites safe and prevent injuries and deaths of workers. An employer should take care to make sure that workers are properly trained to design trenches and excavation sites that comport with regulations and which provide suitable protective systems for workers. If they fail to do so, and workers are injured or die as a result, then the contractor and other parties may well be liable in a negligence action for a worker’s losses as well as the losses of the worker’s family members. If you or someone you love has been injured or has died in a trenching or excavation accident in Goshen, Orange County, or anywhere in the Hudson Valley, contact Dupée & Monroe, P.C. to speak with experienced construction accident lawyers who can help you.