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Lack of proper planning could cause fatal construction accidents

When construction projects in New York are in the planning stage, developers should assess potential hazards and address those in advance. This particularly applies when projects include demolition, or for redevelopment projects. Being prepared may prevent fatal construction accidents like the one that happened in Poughkeepsie on a recent Thursday.

Investigators of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be examining the circumstances of the tragedy to determine whether this death could have been prevented by following safety regulations. This project is the redevelopment of a lumber yard into a commercial complex that will also include some apartments. Reportedly, the incident happened soon after a massive load of soil was delivered to the site.

The fire chief says an existing retaining wall supported the bulk of this load of soil. Unfortunately, it failed, and the wall collapsed onto two construction workers who were behind it. One man was fortunate enough to escape being trapped, but he had to be taken to a hospital for treatment of a broken hand and a suspected fractured leg. Sadly, the wall fell directly onto one worker, killing him before he could be extricated.

When such construction accidents occur, it typically leaves injured workers with piles of medical bills and a shortage of cash. Families of deceased workers have to cope with unanticipated expenses related to end-of-life arrangements, often leaving them with financial problems. This is where the New York workers' compensation program comes in. Benefits are available for workers and grieved family members to cover medical expenses, funeral and burial costs and a portion of lost wages.

Source:, "Dutton: Investigation of the fatal lumberyard accident could take 6 months, officials say", Abbott Brant., Aug. 9, 2017

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