Recently, New York prosecutors announced criminal charges against two construction managers stemming from the April 6 death of one of their employees. According to The New York Times, the charges include second-degree manslaughter, negligent homicide and reckless endangerment.
While these charges cannot bring back the life lost, they will hopefully serve as a warning to other construction managers who choose to skirt the rules and put their workers in danger.
Circumstances of the accident
According to reports, the victim died after thousands of pounds of dirt collapsed upon him while he was working in a pit at a Lower Manhattan construction site. Prosecutors claim there were unfortified trenches as deep as 13 feet at the site, even though regulations require fortification once they reach five feet.
As noted in court documents, inspectors issued several safety warnings regarding this construction site in the months leading up to the accident. Indeed, it is alleged that a private inspector actually warned managers about the dangerous depth of the trenches on the day of the accident.
Construction workers are always at risk
This fatal construction accident is a tragic example of the real dangers construction workers must deal with on a daily basis. In fact, every year, hundreds of employees are killed while working on construction sites. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that an alarming 828 workers died in construction accidents in 2013 alone, which is the most recent year information is available.
Sadly, even those fortunate enough to survive construction accidents often face their own severe hardships, including intense medical care and significant losses to income. In some cases, injured workers spend years in medical treatment, with many never being able to work again. Thankfully, many of these victims have legal options available.