Trench collapses are some of the most frequent construction site hazards. The Occupation Safety and Health Administration has cited a New York contractor for failure to control cave-in hazards, leading to a worker being trapped in a collapse.
The contractor Antorino Sewer and Drain, is looking at a total of $11,700 in proposed fines. According to the OSHA release, the agency conducted an investigation into a cave-in incident that occurred when an Antorino worker was trapped in a cave-in at a construction site in East Hills in New York. In that incident, the worker had become trapped in a 16-foot hole. Fortunately, that accident did not result in serious injuries or fatalities. However, OSHA has determined that there was a very serious risk of injury or death in this accident.
OSHA cited several failures on Antorino’s part
· The excavation lacked even the most basic cave-in protection.
· The worker was lowered into the excavation site in a backhoe.
· He was wearing no head protection
· The trench did not have a ladder or any other means of exit.
· There were excavated materials stored on the edges of the trench.
· The trench had not been inspected by an experienced and knowledgeable person.
As New York construction accident lawyers, we know that trench collapses and cave-ins are some of the most common accidents associated with excavation work. These can be avoided if the walls of the trench are shored using metal shoring, and if the trench is inspected prior to workers being allowed in. Once a cave-in begins, it takes just a few seconds for a worker to be trapped in the mud. Death is usually by asphyxiation, and can occur in seconds.
There are other dangers associated with excavation work. Workers may be injured if they come into contact with underground power lines. There may be suffocation and asphyxiation caused by noxious underground fumes, like natural gas. These are very real dangers, but can be limited if all safety precautions are followed diligently.