Trench collapses are one of a construction worker’s worst nightmares. When they happen, it’s often because the trench wasn’t properly dug or maintained. Injuries are often severe — or fatal.
Such was the case for one Mason, Ohio, construction worker who was killed in a 2017 trench collapse. The worker, a 25-year-old man, was buried nearly 16-feet deep when the walls of the trench he was in collapsed. It took over 150 workers 11 hours just to find his body.
Now, his family is suing the general contractor, NVR Inc. (also known as “Ryan Homes”) involved in the incident, the developer of the project and a number of subcontractors. The lawsuit alleges that the contractor ordered the workers to do a task at an unsafe depth, in soil that was poorly compacted and in a location that was clearly dangerous — without the right safety equipment.
The lawsuit is asking for $20 million in damages — including punitive ones that are designed to punish the contractor for not following safety regulations.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has numerous regulations designed to minimize the risk of a trench collapse. For example, supportive trench boxes are supposed to be used in any trench that’s more than five feet deep — yet many employers fail to use them because they’re expensive and slow down the work.
Other common issues that cause trench collapses are poor soil conditions (especially after heavy rains), and soil that’s piled up too closely to the edge of the trench. Safety inspections are supposed to be carried out daily when trench work has to be done over several days — before any worker steps foot inside.
If your loved one was killed in a trench collapse or other construction accident, you may be able to pursue justice through a wrongful death claim. Find out more about your legal options as soon as possible.