On the afternoon of Monday, a twelve foot deep trench collapsed on Neuville Drive in Franklin Township, crushing and killing a construction worker who was on the job. While he was working on the construction of a new home, the man was buried suddenly in the collapse. He did not survive the hour that it took for emergency responders to dig out the collapsed trench in their efforts to rescue him.

OSHA Standards for Construction Sites

The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), created in 1970 by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), is intended to help prevent serious injuries and deaths like this tragic event. Under this federal law, and under the oversight and scrutiny of OSHA, employers and contractors in the construction industry must keep the work environment and job conditions of construction workers free of any known dangers that could threaten the safety of those workers. Federal law also requires that certain standards must be met both with respect to the safety of workplace conditions and oversight of any safety issues by the employer or other contractors at a job site, and also with regard to the training provided to employees who will be working in the hazardous field of construction. 29 CFR 1926 sets forth all of the federal requirements specifically applicable to health and safety in the construction industry. Under 29 CFR 1926 and Section 107 of the OSH Act, workers cannot be allowed to work under hazardous conditions, and the responsibility for maintaining whatever controls might be necessary to avoid placing workers in hazardous conditions rests squarely on the shoulders of the employer or third-party contractor managing work at a site. 29 CFR 1926.20(b)(4) specifically states in the employer’s responsibilities the requirement that employers must oversee proper training of their construction workers, and only allow workers with appropriate experience to be assigned hazardous responsibilities.

Potential Hazardous Conditions

In this tragic accident, the victim of the recent trench collapse in Franklin Township NJ may have been working in hazardous conditions, as he ended up losing his life. If the victim’s family pursues damages, the employer could potentially be found at fault for having violated some of OSHA’s extremely important safety standards, thus putting the victim’s life at risk. Other contractors working at the site could also face liability for this fatal accident if they failed to comply with their legal duties and responsibilities under OSHA and thus contributed to causing this tragic death.
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a construction accident, please call us to discuss what options are available to you to seek damages for your injuries or loss.