Construction sites can be dangerous for many different reasons, and there are many different types of hazards on construction sites that can result in serious and deadly worker injuries. Trenching and excavation work is especially dangerous, and construction workers can be injured or killed when a cave-in occurs. What is a cave-in, how do these construction accidentshappen, and what do injured workers and their families need to know about seeking financial compensation? Our New York construction accident lawyers have more information for you, and we can speak with you today about filing a negligence lawsuit.
What is a Cave-In Accident?
There are a wide variety of trenching and excavation dangers on construction sites, including the risk of a cave-in. According to Murray State University, cave-ins are among the most common types of hazards on construction sites, and these types of accidents happen when excavation work is being done and the walls cave in on the worker or workers. Indeed, as Murray State University clarifies, “wall failures often occur suddenly, with little or no time for the worker to react,” and the “weight of the soil crushes and twists the body, causing death or serious injury in a matter of minutes.”
It is important to know that an excavation site can be relatively shallow and a deadly cave-in can still occur, so it is critical for employers to take all necessary precautions to prevent worker injuries.
How Do Cave-In Accidents Occur in New York?
Cave-in accidents happen most often in excavation work where wall supports are not properly created, or where the conditions are such that excavation work should not be undertaken. Sometimes cave-ins happen even though all safety measures are taken due to actions on other parts of the construction site. The following are some of the most common causes of cave-in accidents on construction sites:
● Weather conditions change, resulting in less stability in the excavation area, include freezing followed by melting, or heavy rains before continued construction work;
● Failing to use protective systems to support the walls of the excavation area;
● Water pooling in the excavation area, often as a result of heavy rains;
● Keeping heavy equipment near the excavation site, such as cranes or other heavy vehicles or machinery;
● Allowing the excavated earth material to sit close to the edge of the excavation site;
● Using heavy and vibrating equipment near the excavation site;
● Conducting excavation work near a heavily trafficked area where motor vehicles frequently cause vibrations in the excavated area; and/or
● Digging an excavation site in an area with unstable soil.
While construction work often must be completed regardless of weather conditions, employers can take steps to ensure that construction work, and excavation work in particular, is not undertaken when the conditions are hazardous. For example, after a heavy rain, any remaining water should be pumped out of the excavation area.