Emergency response crews were called to the scene of a construction accident where a worker fell close to 30 feet into a trench. According to New York 1, the accident happened in Kew Gardens in Queens where there was a stop-work order in effect.
“What we’re treating for is crush syndrome,” said Greg Brady with the New York City Fire Department. “Usually, what we’re trying to combat is, it’s called smiling death.”
Our Queens construction accident attorneys understand that the medics gave the employee various pain medication and an IV in an attempt to combat the chemical buildup in the man’s muscles. Those chemicals could have reached his heart within hours.
When entrapment occurred, he was caught under hundreds of pounds of mud. Every time crews tried to get him out, he just kept sliding in deeper.
According to the Department of Buildings, the home where they were doing the excavation work didn’t have the proper permit. Because investigators discovered that employees didn’t install the proper shoring, they handed out a stop-work order. Reports indicate that the collapse was probably a result of the lack of shoring. Shoring means that support structures are placed within the excavation and designed to prevent a trench from a caving in.
The incident is still under investigation.
What many don’t realize are the risks that are associated with this kind of work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 270 workers killed in excavation and/or trenching projects (cave-ins) from 2000 to 2006. The Centers for Disease Control an Prevention (CDC) reports that hazards associated with trench work and excavation are recognized and preventable, yet injuries and fatalities associated with these hazards continue to occur.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, cave-ins are perhaps the most feared trenching hazard.
Workers who dig or excavate trenches are at risk of death if they enter an unprotected trench and the walls collapse.
Did you know that the fatality rate for excavation work is more than 110 percent higher than the rate for general construction.
To help to keep these employees safe, officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have created standards that require construction excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Protection from cave-ins can take several forms, including use of a trench box. Yet, employers continue to take risks with workers’ lives despite knowing the facts.
It’s important that these jobs are planned out in advance. Designate a person to make sure all safety measures are taken before, during and after a job. You also want to plan the job layout to identify safe locations (away from the trench) for spoil piles and heavy equipment routes.
For more information regarding Preventing Worker Deaths from Cave-Ins, you can turn to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations to those injured in crane accidents or construction accidents in New York City. Call 1-877-313-7673.
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Dangling NYC Crane Highlights Accidents Risks – No Hurricane Necessary, New York Injury Lawyer Blog, November 4, 2012