A New Hampshire man working on a project to expand the Woburn Public Library was killed in a construction accident on Tuesday, July 11. According to reports, the man was working in a pit alongside the foundation of the building when a large piece of rock came loose and fell, crushing him.
The Middlesex district attorney released a short statement to note that the circumstances of the death are not considered suspicious, but the incident will continue to be investigated by local authorities and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The man was part of the crew working on a $31.5 million project to renovate and expand the library building. He was employed by a foundation subcontractor and was working on the underpinning of the 1879 building. Other workers on the site immediately rushed to aid him with heavy equipment, but he died at the scene.
Work at the site was suspended after the late-morning accident and did not resume for two days. The project, which began in May and would more than double the existing footprint of the library, is still expected to be finished by December 2018.
Construction remains one of the most dangerous industries for American workers, and accounts for the largest share of workplace fatalities. OSHA has reported that in 2015 a total of 4,379 workers died from workplace illness and injury, and more than 21 percent of the total (937) were involved in some aspect of construction.
Accidents like the one in Woburn, in which a worker is crushed by a falling object, or caught in or between equipment, or caught in a collapse, is one of what the agency has labeled the “Fatal Four.”
Preventing these types of accidents would save about two-thirds of fatally injured construction workers, and OSHA has promoted “Focus Four Training” awareness and education campaigns for several years in an effort to reduce them.
Were the workers trained in proper procedures? Was the foundation properly shored up? Was heavy equipment operating only at a safe distance from the excavation? Was proper trench safety equipment being used? When the investigations are complete, we’ll have answers to those questions.
This might prove to have been an unavoidable accident, but it’s possible it was caused by carelessness. That was determined to be the case when two workers died in Boston last October. The owner of the company that employed them was charged with two counts of manslaughter, in part for violating safety mandates regarding trench shoring.
When you have been injured or someone close to you has been injured or killed in a workplace accident, contact the experienced team at Joel H. Schwartz, PC. If negligence or a possible criminal act was involved, it’s important to have the right help. The law can impose justice, but it doesn’t provide financial compensation without additional action.
We understand construction accident law and workers comp law have helped many clients reach the settlements they deserve. Call us at 1-800-660-2270 or contact us online through the form below to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.