Three workers were injured as they were buried up to their waist in dirt when the ground they were working in gave way. The cave-in accident occurred at a rowhouse on Wilson Street in Williamsburg. Officials say the building was under renovation when the ground caved in and the workers were buried. Two of the workers had to be dug out by firefighters. All three men suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The building owner did not have a permit for the construction work and nearby buildings were evacuated as a precaution. The workers were not provided adequate safeguards to prevent the cave-in or to lessen their potential injuries. The Department of Buildings has stated that actions will be taken to hold the people responsible for the accident accountable for endangering public safety.
Cave-in accidents are extremely dangerous. Even shallow cave-ins can result in devastating injuries. According to data collected by the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OHSA), 64 percent of fatalities in trenches occur at depths of under 10 feet. As dirt rapidly buries workers, it can cause bone fractures, internal injuries and suffocation.
Jobsites must be carefully inspected to ensure that they are safe for construction work. Once it is clear that the foundation can take the weight of construction, then steps must be taken to prevent cave-ins. Protective systems such as ground sloping, benching, shoring, and shielding can help prevent devastating cave-in accidents from occurring.
When workers are injured on the job, they can seek workers’ compensation benefits from employers. In some cases, they may also be able to file third-party claims seeking compensation from parties other than employers whose negligence may have caused or contributed to the injury accident. If you have been injured on the job, please contact an experienced NYC construction accident attorney who can provide you with more information about your legal rights and options.
Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP can help. Contact us at (212) 986- 7353.