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New York City Medical Malpractice Lawyer > New York City Trench Collapse Lawyer

New York City Trench Collapse Lawyer

Trench collapses are one of the most dangerous hazards in the construction industry. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established stringent regulations to protect workers involved in trenching and excavation activities. These regulations are designed to minimize the risks associated with trench collapses and ensure a safe working environment for all construction workers. If you or a loved one has been injured in a trench collapse accident, you need a New York City Negligent Trench Collapse Lawyer. Call Michael Gunzburg, P.C. as they can guide you in the law, and help you obtain the compensation you may be entitled to recover.

Our New York City Trench Collapse Lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal landscape and obtain the compensation you deserve.

OSHA Regulations for Trench Safety

OSHA’s regulations for trenching and excavation are comprehensive and detailed, aiming to protect workers from the high fatality rate associated with these activities. Data collected by OSHA shows that trench workers and those involved in excavation have a 112% higher fatality rate than other construction workers, underscoring the need for strict safety measures. Based on OSHA data, trenching can be dangerous.

Trenches Less Than 5 Feet Deep

  • When the excavation is less than 5 feet deep, a competent person must examine the site to identify potential cave-in hazards and determine if conditions are safe for workers.

Trenches Between 5 and 20 Feet Deep

  • For trenches that are between 5 and 20 feet deep, New York laws require that stable rock formations have protective systems in place. Additionally, egress points such as ladders, ramps, or steps must be located so that workers do not have to travel more than twenty-five feet laterally within the trench.

Trenches 20 Feet Deep or More

  • For trenches that are twenty feet deep or more, a registered engineer must design the protective system. This ensures that all safety measures are thoroughly considered and fully implemented.

Common Causes of Trench Collapse Accidents

Trench collapses can occur for a variety of reasons, often due to negligence or failure to adhere to safety regulations. Some common causes of trench collapse accidents include:

  • Inadequate Protective Systems: Failure to use appropriate protective systems such as trench boxes or shoring can lead to cave-ins.
  • Lack of Proper Inspections: Regular inspections by a competent person are essential to identify potential hazards and ensure that conditions remain safe.
  • Improper Egress: Workers must have safe means of entering and exiting trenches. Failure to provide ladders, ramps, or steps can result in accidents.
  • Unsafe Soil Conditions: Soil type and condition can significantly impact trench stability. Failing to account for soil variability can lead to unexpected collapses.
  • Contractor Cost Cutting: Some contractors cut corners to save money or expedite the progress and completion dates on construction jobs. When contractors put profits over safety, people get hurt and sometimes even lose their lives.

Common Injuries Due to Trench Collapse

Trench collapses can result in severe injuries or fatalities. Some of the most common injuries include:

  • Crush Injuries: Workers can be trapped and crushed by collapsing walls of the trench, leading to severe injuries or death.
  • Suffocation: In a trench collapse, workers can become buried under soil, leading to suffocation.
  • Broken Bones and Traumatic Injuries: Falling into or being struck by equipment during a trench collapse can cause broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, catastrophic injuries, and other severe damage and harm.

Relevant Case: Highlighting the Importance of Safety Compliance: People v. Kenneth Formica (2007)

  • In the case of The People of the State of New York v. Kenneth Formica, the defendant was a supervisor at a construction site where a trench collapse resulted in the death of a worker due to asphyxiation. The grand jury found sufficient evidence to indict the defendant on charges of criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment. The case emphasized the clear and specific risk of trench collapse due to factors such as the depth of the trench, quality of the soil, failure to slope or shore the trench, adherence to safety regulations, and prior governmental safety admonitions. The foreseeability of the trench collapse and the supervisor’s responsibility to recognize and mitigate these risks were central to the case, underscoring the critical importance of compliance with safety protocols to prevent such tragic incidents. This case shows that owners and contractors have a big responsibility to ensure safety on the work site. When they fail to do so, they can be found both criminally and civilly responsible.

Our Trench Collapse Accident Lawyer in New York City Can Help After an Injury

If you have been injured in a New York City Trench Collapse Accident, let our Michael Gunzburg, P.C. help you. We understand the complexities of OSHA regulations and New York Labor Laws related to trenching and excavation safety. We will work tirelessly to prove negligence and secure the compensation you and your family deserve. Call us today at 212-725-8500 or chat with us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more.

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