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Trench Collapse Buries 2 Construction Workers

The experienced lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy have long recognized the perils associated with construction work. It is one of the many reasons why the attorneys at the firm fight with such fervor to preserve and strengthen worker safety laws in New York. This week, another frightening construction accident showed the need for a continued focus on improving worker safety.

Two Westchester County construction workers endured a life-threatening accident when an excavated trench where they were working collapsed. The workers were buried by dirt and debris, barely visible to their co-workers. This frightening situation could have left both with serious injuries and even killed them. Fortunately the brave and swift actions of local firefighters saved the workers. According to reports, emergency personnel in Rye used vacuum trucks to clear the dirt and debris so the buried men could be freed. The full extent of any injuries suffered by these contractors is not yet known. We wish them a speedy recovery.

Trench collapses can occur as a result of soil shifting due to inclement weather, improper maintenance of the trench, poor placement of construction equipment or when demolition or drilling work nearby damages the structural integrity of the trench.

Why can trench collapses be so very dangerous? Well, consider this: A cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car. That’s right, as much as a car. Think of how these men felt when faced with such an terrifying situation. When people are buried in dirt and debris, they can suffer many injuries, including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, crush injuries and death.

Suffocation is another consequence that is often not considered when a trench collapses. You can lose your ability to breath when buried in this manner. Suffice to say, it is vital to maintain all safety precautions when working in or near a trench.

It is because of the many risks encountered by construction tradesmen and laborers that the New York State Labor Law offers strong protection to the workers exposed to these dangers. Most often Labor Law 240, commonly referred to as “the Scaffold Law” is invoked when construction site accidents involve insufficient protection for workers on scaffolds, ladders, scissor lifts or other elevation devices. However, as shown by this accident, construction accidents can also result from insufficient protections for workers positioned at elevations lower than ground level. The law can protect workers in these scenarios as well.

The attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy LLP have a long and proud tradition of fighting on behalf of construction workers. These ‘Lawyers With Hardhats’ have delivered some astounding results for workers and their families in the courtrooms around New York State. These results are just some of the firm’s achievements, which includes almost $800,000,000 in verdicts and settlements for their injured clients. If you are someone you know has been injured in a construction site accident, you owe it to yourself to consult an attorney with years of experience and expertise in the New York Statle Labor Law. You can learn more about the construction accident lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy by reviewing the firm website at For a free consultation, call the firm at 212-736-5300.