This past April, a 22-year-old Queens man was recently killed in a construction accident when the trench he was working in collapsed. According to an EHS Today news report, safety investigators have determined the fatal trenching accident was completely preventable. Officials with the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) say that neither the general contractor nor subcontractor provided cave-in protection for the trench. They didn’t even brace a section of the trench to support the sidewalk.
OSHA officials say that the cave-in accident could have been prevented had the trench been guarded properly against collapse. Managers with companies responsible for the accident were warned by project safety officials and failed to act. General contractor Harco Construction LLC and subcontractor Sky Materials Corp. both received citations for willful violations of workplace safety standards. Each received fines of $140,000. Officials from both companies will face manslaughter and other charges.
It’s the responsibility of all employers in New York to provide safe workplaces. Construction companies must provide adequate training, supervision, and accident prevention equipment. When companies fail to protect their workers, it can lead to serious or even fatal injuries.
OSHA requires all trenches five feet deep or greater to have a protective system unless the trench is entirely in stable rock. When someone is killed in a trench collapse accident, their family is advised to research their legal options. If negligence contributed to the accident, they can get financial compensation to help through a tough time.
There are death benefits available for victims of work-related fatal accidents through workers’ compensation insurance. These benefits will cover some of the losses suffered by the family, including medical bills and lost wages, but they likely won’t compensate a family enough for their loss.
That is why you should go after support by filing a claim against the party responsible for the accident. In such cases, compensation may be available for:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost future wages
- Other related damages
An experienced New York construction accident lawyer can help families better understand their legal rights and options. Contact Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP at (212) 986- 7353 to discuss your next steps.