On June 11, 2020 at around 10:00 a.m., a Clarkstown Highway Department employee at a job site in New City, New York was injured when the trench he was working in suddenly collapsed, trapping him in dirt and debris up to his waist. Thankfully, the 35-year-old’s injuries were reported to be non-life threatening.
According to Police Officer Norman Peters, the Clarkstown Highway Department had been working on an excavation project when the trench collapsed. The injured employee was removed from the trench by fellow workers prior to police arriving on the scene at 12 Alan Court. The accident victim was treated by Rockland Paramedic Services then transported to Nyack Emergency Room by a New City ambulance. We hope the victim is able to recover quickly and fully from him injuries.
Trench work can be very dangerous and should be handled with extreme caution to avoid cave-ins. One cubic yard of soil can weigh more than 2,000 pounds, depending on the moisture content, making cave-in accidents disastrous and potentially fatal for those involved. These types of accidents occur more frequently than you may think.
In November of 2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation with the goal of reducing or eliminating trenching and excavation hazards in the workplace. In this release, OSHA reported 130 fatalities in trenching and excavation projects between 2011 and 2016. Of these fatalities, 80 percent were connected to the construction industry. Based on these figures, OSHA stated that “these worksites continue to warrant an increased enforcement presence.”
OSHA offers the following safety information for employees placed at risk on excavation work sites:
- Do not enter an unprotected trench. Trenches 5 feet or deeper require a protective system unless located in entirely stable rock.
- Trenches must be inspected daily by a competent person prior to worker entry.
- Keep heavy equipment away from the edges of trenches.
- Inspect trenches at the beginning of each work shift.
- Mark underground utilities.
Construction workers face many potential hazardous conditions in their daily lives. It is incredibly important that work site managers ensure their workers’ safety by adhering to federal safety regulations. It is very fortunate that the worker involved in Thursday’s accident did not suffer a fatal injury. All workers have a legal right to a safe, risk-free work environment.
The Construction Accident Lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy have experience handling personal injury matter, including trenching and excavation accidents. Our team is dedicated to obtaining justice for those injured in accidents caused by the negligent actions of another party. Our proven track record includes the following results:
- $5,000,000 settlement for a laborer injured by an electric shock while performing excavation work
- $4,250,000 settlement for a union worker injured when he was knocked into a 12-foot-deep trench
- $3,250,000 settlement for a union laborer who fell 5 feet onto subway tracks when the ground on which he was standing collapsed beneath him