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Excavation and Tunnel Accidents Attorneys in New York

Construction Accidents | Excavation or Tunnel Collapse | Trench Cave-ins | Broken Gas Lines | Water Hazards | Electrocution

Workers in the construction industry are often at risk for excavation and tunnel accidents. Construction work is inherently dangerous; however, unsafe work conditions can make it even more so. For this reason, OSHA has established numerous rules and regulations to protect workers.

Unfortunately, production pushes to meet deadlines or cutting corners to save on costs can result in violations that put workers in harm's way.

Key Definitions: Excavation and Trench

The definitions of excavation and trench help clarify what excavation and trench accidents involve. Excavation and trenches have explicit definitions assigned by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).

An excavation is "any man-made cut, cavity, trench, or depression in the earth's surface formed by earth removal. A trench is "a narrow underground excavation that is deeper than it is wide, and is no wider than 15 feet."

Some Underlying Causes of Excavation and Trench Accidents


A cave-in poses the greatest risk for an excavation accident. A cave-in occurs when a trench collapses. Safety precautions should be in place to prevent cave-ins. Protective techniques include:

  • Benching (horizontal levels or steps)
  • Sloping (cutting trench walls at an angle)
  • Shoring (installing supports)
  • Shielding (use of trench boxes or other supports to avoid soil cave-ins)

Failure to provide such protective measures is usually an indication of negligence.

Falling Loads

A load of excavated dirt or other materials falling into an excavation can injure workers or lead to a cave-in.

Hazardous Atmospheres

Because digging often releases carbon monoxide, methane or other types of gases, workers need to stay alert regarding hazardous atmospheres. Contractors must take preventative measures to avoid oxygen deprivation. Tunnels must remain well ventilated and should be tested so workers have safe air to breathe.

Mobile Equipment Hazards

Heavy equipment used in excavation includes backhoes and bulldozers to remove dirt and create trenches and tunnels. Operators must be experienced and follow safety precautions when excavating. They should also receive warnings when other workers are present.

If you have suffered a serious injury or lost a loved one in an excavation or trenching accident, our attorneys at Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP offer a free consultation to discuss your case. We can explain your rights to pursue legal action.

Call us toll free at 888.519.6400, or contact us in Garden City at 516.248.2234, or in Flushing-Queens, Brooklyn or the Bronx at 718.539.3100. You can also fill in our contact form, and we will get in touch with you.

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