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OSHA fines company $1.5 million after fatal workplace accident

Trench collapses have claimed too many lives of workers nationwide, including in New York. For that reason, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes strict safety regulations that, if complied with, can prevent collapses that can cause traumatic injuries or death. The safety agency recently reported its findings after investigating a fatal workplace accident when a trench collapsed in a neighboring state.

OSHA investigators determined that the company had workers who were providing drain services at a job site last October. Two employees were working inside a trench when the giving away of a water main flooded the unprotected trench. Both workers died in this incident. OSHA has proposed fines totaling $1.5 million.

According to OSHA's report, the deaths of these workers could have been prevented had the company installed the required support systems in the trench. Furthermore, it was determined that ladders were not consistently provided for safe access to and exit from trenches. Other safety violations included the failure to provide hard hats, and the company neglected to provide safety training to employees.

The company is reportedly also facing criminal charges of manslaughter following the deaths of these two workers. Regardless of the outcome of criminal charges, the surviving family members of any worker who is killed in a fatal workplace accident may seek financial assistance through the New York workers' compensation insurance program. While it cannot remove the heartache, it can ease the financial burden brought about by end-of-life expenses and lost income. Experienced workers' compensation attorneys can provide assistance with the administrative and legal procedures of death benefits claims.

Source:, "OSHA: Safety guidelines violated in trench collapse that killed RI man", April 13, 2017

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