Massachusetts worker dies in trench accident

Another Massachusetts construction worker has passed away following an accident during routine trench work in Duxbury, MA when a power saw kicked back and made lethal contact with his throat.  The Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office does not suspect foul play, and the incident is under investigation now by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to determine what caused the saw to become “bound” and subsequently injure the worker.

The tragic accident occurred during routine trench work on Saturday, Nov. 19 in Duxbury when workers were excavating an underground water line. At least one other worker was involved in the activity but was not harmed.

Trench work is dangerous work

This event, and an incident in October that claimed the lives of two workers in Boston, puts an unfortunate emphasis on how dangerous construction work – and work in trenches, specifically – truly is. In 2014, 899 construction workers died while working on the job, and about 70 construction workers die each year from accidents involving trenches.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines a trench as “a narrow underground excavation that is deeper than it is wide, and is no wider than 15 feet.” This means that some trenches can be much deeper than 15 feet, which poses a serious risk of fatal falls in, addition to the most common form of trench work deaths – cave-ins.

There are many health regulations put in place by OSHA and state agencies that regulate trench work, including always securing each side of the wall, providing fall protection, designing protective measures such as properly sloping at least one wall of the trench in the event workers have to get out quickly.  Additionally, foremen and workers on site must always be aware of changing conditions in the trench and in the surrounding soil. They must also be aware of any seismic activity, even from something as simple as traffic passing nearby.

Of course, in accidents such as this most recent and unfortunate one in Duxbury, no amount of cave-in prevention can prevent a tragic death involving a power saw. It is cases like these that must prompt construction companies to learn how to better protect their workers from each of the unique dangers that exist on a job site. Trenches are tight quarters to work in, so there should always be additional precautions when working with dangerous power tools.

Keep construction companies accountable

Organizations like OSHA have done good work ensuring that construction companies enact certain baseline regulations to protect American workers, but since American workers deaths are increasing ever-so-slightly over past years, clearly more needs to be done.

Continuous and evolving regulations are required to ensure that new dangers to workers and dangers that are less known are accounted for and properly safeguarded against. In the tragic event that you or somebody you love is harmed or killed in a construction work accident, know that you may have legal recourse to collect financial reimbursement for your medical bills, lost income from missed time at work, or, in the worst events, funeral expenses.

At Altman & Altman LLP, we have over 50 years of experience litigating every different kind of personal injury case imaginable. We have the expertise to pursue your case in the appropriate manner and get you the money that you need to pay your bills, recoup from missed time at work and to continue living your life. Call us for a free consultation today at 617-492-3000 or toll-free at 800-481-6199. We are available 24/7 and we don’t get paid a dime unless you are successful in your claim.



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