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Another Trenching Accident, This One Fatal

Worker Killed Following Trench Wall Collapse at Local New Jersey Construction Site

A 43-year-old construction worker was tragically killed on Monday after a trench collapsed during the construction of a home in Franklin Township, New Jersey. The worker was buried alive while working in the trench that was being used for the installation of utilities. Five workers who were present when the walls of the trench gave way tried to save their co-worker, but were not able to rescue the man.

Two hours after the collapse, firefighters were able to free the man, but it was too late and he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. The rescue delay was, in part, due to the efforts that workers were making to shore the dangerous trench as the worker was holding on for dear life.

Trenches are holes dug in the ground and are commonly found on construction sites for various reasons, including foundation work and the placement of utilities such as exterior plumbing or electrical conduit. Trenches can be extremely dangerous if proper construction site safety protocols are not followed, as the walls of the trenches are very unstable and prone to collapse. In order to provide safe access for workers required to work in these dangerous conditions, trench walls require shoring and bracing. Proper shoring and bracing, usually using wood planks, provides support to the trench walls that will prevent their sudden collapse.

Whether proper shoring and bracing was being used at the time of this accident remains unclear, but there will likely be a thorough investigation into the accident to determine who, if anyone, was at fault. Regardless, the construction lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy extend their heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of this worker who was senselessly killed in this tragic accident.

Block O’Toole & Murphy is a law firm dedicated to the safety of construction workers. Our firm has represented countless workers injured or killed as a result of worksite accidents and remains dedicated to helping those who have been injured, as well as the families of those who have tragically lost loved ones in construction accidents.