A construction worker was tragically killed on the job when the trench he was working in collapsed. The incident occurred in the Hudson Valley town of Woodbury, New York on Monday, March 22, 2021.
The 43-year-old worker, who remains unidentified, was working on the construction site at Woodbury Villas, a residential development. He was digging in a 10-foot ditch when the walls collapsed, burying him in mounds of dirt. Woodbury police said the man was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with the worker’s family and loved ones after this terrible accident.
The incident is under investigation, and OSHA has been alerted. Woodbury police also stated that there was no safety box in the trench the worker was digging in. A safety box is a protective system used in trenches to keep the walls from caving in. The fact that there wasn’t one installed in the Woodbury trench is deeply concerning and makes this accident all the more tragic, as this death was easily preventable.
OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has set very clear guidelines to keep workers safe when they are working in or around trenches, as trenching poses a great risk to workers’ lives. The main guidelines for keeping trenches safe include:
- Make sure the trench is safe before anyone starts working in it. Keep materials away from the sides of the trench and ensure there is a safe way to enter and exit.
- Inspect the trench for any hazards. A trench should never be entered unless it has been approved by a competent person.
- Prevent a trench cave-in by using a protective system in the trench.
OSHA says that all trenches should have a protective system. These can range from shoring the trench walls with supports to shielding the walls with trench boxes. In the Woodbury accident, the police noted that there was no such safety box shielding the trench walls; it is no wonder that they collapsed.
Many injuries and deaths that occur on work sites are preventable, as long as the proper safety procedures are followed. It is all the more painful when an injury or death occurs as a result of another party’s negligence, knowing that the accident could have been avoided. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a construction accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.
The construction accident lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy have years of experience litigating trench accident and other construction cases, and are ready to discuss yours. Select results obtained for construction accident victims include:
- $5,500,000 settlement for a Nassau County worker who suffered crush injuries after he was struck in a trench by a rotating excavator
- $4,250,000 settlement for a union excavator who was knocked into into a 12-foot trench by falling plywood planks
- $3,075,000 recovery for a union plumber who was leveling pipes in a trench when a load of gravel being carried by an excavator fell on top of him
- $2,100,000 settlement for a laborer who suffered serious foot and spine injuries after the walls of the trench he was working in collapsed, burying him in dirt and concrete