Working in hazardous conditions is harrowing enough without an employer's
willful violation of occupational safety standards. What does it mean
for an employee who was injured on the job when an employer has knowingly
put him or her at risk? Litigation against a Pennsylvania-based construction
company reveals some of the possibilities that may follow the death or
injury of an employee in a
construction site accident.
The construction company was recently charged with a number of violations
by the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration
resulting from a construction site accident that cost one man his life
and severely injured another.
According to a report in the
York Dispatch, the company hired two construction workers to install a drain pipe at
one of their major construction sites. During the course of the work,
the wall of the trench that had been dug for the pipe collapsed. The cave-in
buried one worker up to his waist and the other completely. It took over
one hundred rescue personnel a total of 14 hours to free the men.
Representatives for the company maintain that they, in no way, knowingly
endangered the men's lives. However, it appears that the company is
being charged with OSHA several violations; citing that appropriate training
and safety measures were not taken.
As of now, there is some discrepancy over the status of the men's employment.
Company reps maintain that the gentlemen were independent contractors.
Nonetheless, the Pennsylvania families involved in an incident such as
this one may not only be suffering from the anticipation of lost wages,
but also the emotional trauma that accompanies the heavy burden of a lost
Source: New York City Injury Board, "OSHA Cites Company $168,000 for Worker Death in Tragic Pennsylvania Construction
Trench Collapse," Paul Napoli, 18 June 2011