Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, is calling for more stringent regulations regarding construction companies getting bids to perform work in the Massachusetts metropolitan center in the wake of two construction workers being killed while conducting routine work in a trench in October. The two workers were killed after a water main break flooded the trench with water and debris and were unable to escape. An initial investigation revealed that the trench was not safeguarded against potentially catastrophic cave-ins or collapses because the contractor did not implement the use of a “trench wall,” which braces against both sides of the trench during work.
Subsequent investigations by WGBH showed that the construction contractor, Atlantic Drain Services (based out of Roslindale, MA), had been cited 13 times by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the past five years, including a citation for placing its workers underground without the proper safety and rescue precautions in place.
The tragic incident has led to outrage over the fact that Atlantic Drain Services was given the bid for construction despite their checkered past with safety violations, which are a part of the public record and available to anybody who requests the data. It is indeed alarming that city officials would not check out such a history before awarding a construction bid for potentially dangerous work. The incident is still being investigated by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and OSHA itself, and it is likely that serious fines will be levies onto Atlantic Drain Services for their negligent and ultimately deadly failings to provide a safe work environment for their employees.
Construction work requires exceedingly careful precautions
Construction work is consistently amongst the most dangerous work for American employees, causing 899 deaths in 2014. About 70 of those deaths happened as a direct result of trench work, which often puts workers in toxic, cramped, and potentially deadly environments where cave-ins, electrocution, and respiratory arrest is a common threat to safety. OSHA has a lengthy list of regulations regarding trench work. Regulations include ensuring that the trench is properly protected against cave-ins by using various methods, that a competent supervisor watches all activity to ensure proper protocols are being used, and that there are rescue measures at the ready to save any workers who are suddenly put in danger.
In the case of the two Boston workers who perished, their deaths are on the hands of multiple parties, including the Boston officials who allowed Atlantic Drain Services to obtain the construction bid and the decision-making entities of the construction company who allowed the work to move forward despite proper safety precautions to not be in place.
Hold negligent construction firms accountable
New and serious regulations are absolutely an essential part to prevent future tragedies such as the one that occurred in October. The other part is to hold any firms who don’t take safety measures seriously enough accountable for their negligence. The construction contractor is completely liable for any legal suits that come their way as the result of the deaths of two of their workers. A worker death does not just affect the deceased, but also any and all members of their families who depend on their income. The emotional trauma is bad enough without having to worry about how the money that they used to make will be replaced, if it can be at all.
At Altman & Altman LLP, we aggressively tackle any negligence cases, but especially the ones that result in innocent people being harmed or killed as a result. No company is above taking responsibility for their failure to protect their workers, and we specialize in taking the correct approach to ensure that any surviving family members are properly compensated for the loss of a loved one. If you or anyone you love has been injured in an accident at work where the employer was at fault, please call us for a free consultation today at 617-492-3000 or toll-free at 800-481-6199. We are available 24/7.