As construction accident attorneys who represent workers injured or killed in trench collapse, we have firsthand experience with the repercussions of disregarding safety guidelines during excavation. The hazards linked with excavation and trenching activities are no secret to construction workers either. In New York, a law known as “Carlos’ Law” was signed by Governor Hochul last December, which increases penalties for corporate criminal liability due to the death or serious injury of an employee, whether a felony or misdemeanor. This law allows for fines of up to $500,000 and was named after Carlos Moncayo, a 22-year-old construction worker who tragically died in a trench collapse at a Manhattan construction site. His employers ignored repeated warnings about the hazardous conditions.
One of the primary reasons why excavation and trenching activities pose significant danger is the weight of dirt
It is easy to underestimate how heavy soil can be, but the reality is that a single cubic yard of dirt can weigh as much as a mid-sized car. This weight makes excavating the earth a perilous task, especially when dealing with trenches – excavations that are deeper than they are wide. A single minor mistake or miscalculation can lead to disaster in a matter of seconds. Even a partial trench cave-in can have devastating consequences, including workers being crushed within seconds, even if parts of their upper bodies are above the ground.
Both construction workers and their employers must adhere to specific safety guidelines to prevent trench collapses
Tomorrow, the CPWR, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), OSHA Region III, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will collaborate in a free webinar focusing on excavation and trench safety guidelines.
Kevin Cannon, Senior Director of Safety and Health Services at AGC, will initiate the event, establishing the tone for an informative and engaging session. Nicholas DeJesse, Assistant Regional Administrator at OSHA’s Philadelphia Regional Office, will oversee the Q&A session, ensuring that your pressing questions receive the attention they deserve. Dr. Douglas Trout from NIOSH, Phillippe Falkner from Ed Bell Construction Company, and Perry Silvey from BT Construction will compose the expert panel, ready to share their insights.