A Long Island construction accident occurred on Longwood Road in Sands Point during the beginning of February. A worker began to walk across a board that spanned a large hole. The hole was 12 to 14 feet deep. As the worker walked, dirt on both sides of the hole caved in and he fell into the hole.
According to ABC 7 News, 75 firefighters from different departments and areas came to assist with the rescue. The worker was pulled out of the hole and airlifted to a nearby hospital. He suffered numerous fractures and the injury was serious.
Firefighters were concerned because the walls near the worker had begun to give way. Even though shoring existed around the hole, it appeared that workers had not shored up the walls properly.
Trenching construction work involves any excavation where there is a man-made trench, cavity or depression in the ground that is created by earth removal. By definition, a trench has greater depth than width.
OHSA warns that a protective system must exist for trenches that are five feet deep or greater. The exception is for excavations done in stable rock. If the excavation is 20 feet deep or greater, an engineer must design the protective system.
Shoring is one type of protective system used in trenching. It uses aluminum hydraulic or other support materials to prevent cave-ins and soil movement. Considerable expertise would go into devising the system, including evaluation of soil type, depth cut, water content of soil, weather changes, etc.
OSHA standards require daily trench inspection by a competent person due to the fact that changing conditions can easily lead to excavation hazards.
Contractors must ensure that construction site conditions are safe. Unsafe conditions point to negligence and may provide grounds for legal action when construction accidents occur.
If you are injured in a construction accident, discuss the prospects of pursuing a lawsuit with an experienced personal injury lawyer.