The excavation and digging of trenches is one of the most hazardous activities in the construction industry. Workers must deal with the risk of cave-ins, falls, equipment accidents, and exposure to dangerous chemicals which cause fatalities and other injuries. The type of excavation work that typically results in injury or death involves water, sewer, pipeline, communications, and power-line construction.
Of course, like most operations on a worksite, business owners and operators can prevent most trench accidents by taking reasonable and proper safety measures. The fact is that many of these accidents are frequently caused by owners and contractors who violate laws, rules, and regulations applicable to construction worksite safety. This typically occurs when businesses cut corners on safety to minimize costs and increase their bottom line.
New York Labor Law § 241 addresses the safety of all construction workers, whether they work in trenches or anywhere else on a construction site. This law details how construction sites must be operated and managed to ensure the protection of workers. If an owner or contractor violates any applicable section of the Industrial Code and that causes an accident, the owner or contractor can be held responsible for any ensuing injuries.
Unless the excavation work involves stable rock, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that trenches 5 feet or deeper have a protective system. OHSA also requires employers to inspect trenches daily at the beginning of work shifts, and as weather conditions change.
Factors that may contribute to dangerous trenches include:
- Failure of a protective system
- Lack of regular inspections by the site owner or operator
- Lack of proper safety equipment
- Unstable or stress-loaded soil
- Excessive water content in soil
- Depth of the trench
- Vibrations from external sources such as machinery, equipment or motor vehicles
- Heavy equipment or machinery located too close to the edges of a trench
- Proximity to backfilled excavations
- Environmental conditions related to weather
If you have been injured as a result of a trench accident on a construction site, having lawyers who are experienced with protecting the rights of injured workers should be a top priority. At Bonina and Bonina, P.C., we have been representing injured workers for over 50 years, and we have successfully held owners and contractors responsible for accidents caused by unsafe trenches and other hazardous conditions including:
- Unsafe scaffolds
- Unsafe ladders
- Falling objects
- Failure to provide safety equipment
- Trip and fall accidents due to debris or materials in the walkway at worksites
- Failing to provide the right equipment for the job
- Providing unsafe or defective equipment
- Inadequate training or failure to follow safety protocols.
At Bonina and Bonina, P.C., we have been successfully fighting for injured New York workers for over 50 years. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience and determination to hold negligent owners and contractors responsible, and to get the maximum compensation for your injuries. Contact us today at 1-888-MedLaw1 (888-633-5291) or online so we can help you. The consultation is free. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla espaňol.