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Bronx construction company cited for fatal trench collapse at JFK

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2024 | Construction accidents

One of the biggest risks for construction workers is being caught under debris when something collapses. Many of these events don’t have to occur.

Late last year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited a Bronx construction company for four major safety violations that led to the death of two workers at John F. Kennedy International Airport. 

The two men were removing soil from underneath a concrete slab when the slab fell and fatally crushed them. According to OSHA, the company failed to properly secure the slab to prevent it from collapsing and also neglected to provide the workers with proper instructions for doing their job safely. A federal inspector who was on-site shortly after the tragic collapse said there was no cave-in protection system in place in the trench where the workers were digging.

This was the fifth time in 15 years that the company had been cited for safety violations related to excavation. At least one other incident involved a worker who was trapped under concrete when a trench caved in.

An “alarming rise” in fatal trench collapses

According to OSHA, it has seen an “alarming rise” in worker fatalities caused by trench collapses. In some cases, businesses have even faced criminal charges. Under New York law, these businesses can face increased fines if they’re convicted of homicide or other criminality after a worker death. That law was enacted in 2015 after a worker was killed in a trench collapse in Manhattan.

The Queens district attorney’s office has not yet filed charges against the company, Triumph Construction. It remains to be seen whether or not prosecutors will do so.

Those who have been injured or lost loved ones due to inadequate safety precautions on a construction site who may find little solace in OSHA citations may feel that criminal prosecutions bring more some sense of justice and serve as a stronger impetus for improved safety measures that can prevent other tragedies. It’s also important to explore your options for seeking compensation to help cover expenses and other damages as your family moves forward.