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Long Island Excavation Accident Kills Construction Worker

A man was killed in a Long Island construction accident when a concrete wall collapsed onto him. According to Huntington Manor fire officials, the man was apparently excavating an area behind the foundation of a house, intending to install a basement entrance.

The 47-year-old man who was killed owned his own construction company, although it was not clear whether he was licensed.  There was apparently no permit issued for the work, and the owner of the home could receive a summons.

The crew included two other men, who were not hurt in the collapse. 

In New York City, contractors are required to follow both federal OSGA regulations and the New York City Building Code, both of which establish safety standards for excavation and trenching.  According to a Department of Buildings publication, small projects, such as the one in Long Island, are where most trenching, excavation and wall collapse deaths occur.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), trenching and excavation accidents killed 271 workers in the period 2000 through 2006. In the years between 1992 and 2000, such accidents killed 488 people. Accidents such as the one that killed the Long Island man are included in these statistics; removing the support for a wall by excavating around it without proper support for the wall is very likely to result in a collapse.

The BLS notes that the dangers of excavating and trenching are well known and easily addressed.  Regulations and standards exist to prevent such accidents. Yet, injuries and deaths occur every year.