Block O'Toole & Murphy Block
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1 Worker Killed, Another Missing After Long Island Trench Collapse

At around 4:30 p.m. on January 28, 2020, two workers were installing a septic tank at a Long Island construction site when the walls of the 30-foot pit around them collapsed, trapping the men under piles of wet sand and dirt. First responders were able to recover the body of one worker, 45, who, tragically, died from his injuries. The body of the other 57-year-old worker remains unfound; he is presumed dead.

The two men had been working on the site of a new large home on Wolver Hollow Road in Upper Brookville when the trench where they were working partially collapsed. Nassau County Police Lieutenant Richard LeBrun told reporters that "one of the walls of dirt and sand began to give away, basically covering both males in approximately five to seven feet of wet dirt and sand."

Rescue crews were called to the site and attempted to use their hands and shovels to dig the men out. Unfortunately, the 45-year-old's body was recovered too late and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Rescue personnel were forced to suspend their efforts to find the other worker due to dark conditions late on Tuesday night. Officials said the search for the missing worker would continue the following morning.

Lieutenant LeBrun applauded the work of first responders during this frightening event, saying "they put their lives at risk, they went down into this hole, they were able to rescue one male, but unfortunately he was pronounced [dead] a short time later. Once those other walls started to give away it was just too dangerous."

The names of the two victims are currently unavailable to the public. Reporters witnessed the wife of one of the workers arrive to the scene and leave in an ambulance. She reportedly experienced difficulty breathing and fainted after hearing news of her husband.

Our thoughts are with the loved ones of these two victims after this unexpected tragedy. We hope rescuers are able to recover the body of the missing worker and that further police investigation will shed light on this incident.

In construction, trench work can be incredibly dangerous and should be handled with extreme care. Cave-ins pose a great risk to workers involved in trenching or excavation. The following are important considerations to take when working at a trench site according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA):

  • Ensure that a trench has a protective system in place before entering
  • Trenches must be inspected daily, at the start of each shift, and after a rainstorm
  • Keep heavy equipment away from trench edges
  • Know where underground utilities are located
  • Do not work under raised loads

These precautions among others must be followed to maintain a safe work environment. All workers have the right to feel safe in their place of work. The Construction Accident Attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy are familiar with the many dangers associated with construction work. Our lawyers are driven to seek justice for workers who have been severely injured due to the negligence of another party. In a notable case, our attorneys were able to recover $4,475,000 for the family of a construction worker that was killed when the flooring at a job site collapsed beneath him.

If you or someone you know has been severely injured due to the negligence of another party, contact the lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy for a free legal consultation by calling 212-736-5300 or filling out our online contact form.

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