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MA Company Owner Facing Manslaughter Charges in Trench Collapse Accident that Killed Two Workers

Criminal charges have been filed against the owner of Atlantic Drain Services, a Hyde Park drain cleaning company, following the October death of two workers. Kevin Otto, the company’s owner, is facing two counts of manslaughter, as well as charges that he misled investigators and concealed records after the trench collapse that killed Kevin Mattocks, 53, and Robert Higgins, 47.

The two Atlantic Services employees were killed when a water main broke, flooding the 15-foot-deep trench they were working in. According to the Boston Fire Department, the trench lacked necessary safety protections, including a trench box. A trench box is a steel or aluminum structure that protects workers in a trench, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), strictly requires trench boxes for trenches deeper than five feet.

According to Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, “The evidence has established that the defendants were well aware of this shoring requirement, as well as the grave danger that workers would be exposed to without it, because they’d incurred two separate OSHA violations in the past 10 years for failing to follow it.”

Protect yourself. If you believe that your employer is in violation of OSHA standards, seek the counsel of an experienced MA work injury lawyer. Hindsight is always 20-20, but when it comes to these types of preventable accidents, hindsight is often deadly. Be proactive. If you see safety violations, speak up. You may save a life, even your own.

Prevent Trench Collapse Injuries and Fatalities

Trench collapses pose a serious, life-threatening risk to trench workers every year. Collapses are also much more likely to result in fatalities than any other type of excavation-related accident. Dozens of workers are killed and hundreds injured in trench collapses annually. By following the safety precautions below, you can dramatically reduce your risk of being injured or killed in a trench-collapse accident:

  • Any trench deeper than five feet must be equipped with a trench box designed or approved by a professional engineer.
  • A “competent person” who is capable of identifying potential hazards must be on site for daily inspections.
  • Any trench four feet or deeper must be equipped with safe entry and exit systems, such as a ladder, steps, or a ramp, placed within 25 feet of workers.
  • Use extra caution after heavy rains.
  • Toxic fumes and low oxygen in deep trenches can pose a serious risk. Asphyxiation is a leading cause of death in trenches. Before entering the trench, a competent person must test for toxic fumes and low oxygen levels. Proper ventilation and respiratory protection should be provided.
  • If the trench begins to collapse, don’t assume you have time to get out. Move immediately.
  • To ensure that all workers know the location of a trench, mark the site with barricades, cones, and protective tape. If your employer is not taking necessary precautions to keep workers safe, it is in your best interest to consult with a skilled MA work injury lawyer.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Trench Collapse Injury Lawyers Serving All of Massachusetts

If you have been injured in any type of work-related accident, the legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. Trench collapses are among the deadliest construction accidents in the United States, but proper safety precautions can significantly reduce the risk of serious injury and death. Despite this, many employers neglect to follow all suggestions and required safety measures. As in the case above, this neglect can result in the death of workers. At Altman & Altman, LLP, our work injury lawyers can help you obtain the compensation you deserve so that you can get on with your life. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

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