You only need to spend a few days in New York to understand how vital tunnel workers are to the city. Visitors are captivated by the skyscrapers that tower above us, but without the network of tunnels running underground, the city would screech to a halt.
Whether they are blasting through the earth to create new tunnels for subways or performing routine maintenance, tunnel workers do the jobs most of us cannot imagine. Without tunnel workers, the utilities and transportation that we all rely upon would come to an end. These workers often go unthanked, and their jobs are incredibly dangerous.
Tunnel workers can suffer life-threatening injuries on the job, so methods have been developed over the years to keep them as safe as possible. When an accident does occur, it is important to identify how the accident could have been prevented, and if anyone was responsible for causing the accident. That is where an experienced NY workplace injury attorney can help. If you or a loved one has been injured while working in a tunnel, call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353 right now.
While tunnel workers must deal with common workplace risks like trips and falls, they also deal with hazards that most workers will never have to worry about. Some unique risks for tunnel workers include:
- Suffocation: Working underground means there is less access to fresh air. In tight quarters, poor air quality can be extremely dangerous, causing workers to pass out, suffer brain damage, and potentially die unless they can be removed from the tunnel in time.
- Crush injuries: Whether from a tunnel collapse or improper use of equipment, tunnel workers always have a real risk of being crushed.
- Fires: Fires can be catastrophic underground due to narrow corridors and restricted movement. Flammable gases can cause massive explosions.
- Poor visibility: Being underground means being away from natural light. Work areas need to be properly lit, and workers without personal lights can cause other accidents.
- Becoming lost: If a worker is left behind, serious injuries or fatalities can occur. This is why communication between workers is so important.
Due to the deadly nature of tunnel work, professionals in this industry have established a number of safety standards to keep workers free from harm. So long as these are followed, the risk of serious injury or death is greatly reduced. Some of these standards include:
- Air monitoring and ventilation: Air in tunnels must be monitored and routinely checked for quality. Proper ventilation and fresh air in the tunnel are essential for worker safety.
- Proper lighting: Lights must be set up so workers can see what they are doing. Every worker should also have a personal light for illumination.
- Fire prevention: The best way to fight underground fires is to avoid them. Any source of combustion must be controlled, and air should be checked routinely for flammable gases.
- Check-in/out policies: Every tunnel worksite must have check-in and check-out policies and procedures in place. This ensures that managers always know who is currently in a tunnel, so no one gets left behind.
- Emergency plans: Emergency plans must be in place for a wide range of possible accidents, including collapse, machine failure, and fire. If an emergency does occur, everyone must have been trained on what to do.
If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries in a tunnel accident, you do not have to go through it alone. Call the top NYC tunnel accident attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353 to discuss your options. If there is compensation out there for you, we will help you get it.
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