New Information Released in Fatal York County Trench Collapse Accident

PennLive.com reports new information has been released regarding the tragic trench collapse last month in Newberry Township in York County that killed one man and seriously injured another.

In March of 2009, red flags were raised when county inspectors from the York County Conservation District discovered erosion-control problems with the project for stormwater drains. The site was owned by Eclipse Builders Inc., and a spokesperson for the company said work was being done on the 3.5 acre site for future development. The company alleges inspectors were concerned with the site in particular because it had once been a junkyard, and report it took 27 months to obtain a permit to work on the land.

According to county records, inspectors had visited the property seven times to ensure runoff was not draining into Fishing Creek, which eventually drains into the Chesapeake Bay, and were not related to safety matters. However, each inspection discovered some form of failure in erosion controls. A county report states that Eclipse Builders Inc. did not initially submit an erosion and sedimentation control plan, but did so in June of 2010, which was then approved in July. Afterwards, inspections noted that earth disturbance activities were still in violation of state laws. However, a review of the most recent inspection report shows that the majority of the conditions had been met. Two days before the trench collapse, county inspectors visited the site, but the trench had yet to be dug.

According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the fatality rate for excavation work is about 112 percent higher than the fatality rate for general construction, which is already among the most dangerous occupations. While the specifics of the York County trench collapse accident have yet to be known, OSHA recommends that employers take extra safety measures regarding trench and excavation work at construction work sites, which includes but is not limited to:

  • A ladder or other means of escape from a trench should be in place.
  • A person who is deemed competent is required to inspect all trench work daily. If any evidence of a slide or cave-in is present, all work must stop immediately.
  • Excavation equipment and material used for excavation is required to be put at least two feet away from the edge of the trench.
  • If heavy equipment will be operated next to a trench, extra precautions must be taken because of the extra weight placed upon the ground.
  • The sides of a trench are required to be slope sheeted, braced, or shored in unstable material.
  • Water is not permitted to accumulate in a trench.

The Philadelphia construction accident attorneys at Anapol Weiss understand the many difficulties and financial burdens a construction worker and their family faces after a serious injury at a construction site in Pennsylvania. We work hard to ensure those who have been injured while on the job are adequately compensated for any losses they have suffered as a result of their injury. If you have been seriously injured at a construction site in Pennsylvania, please call our law office at 1-866-735-2792 today to schedule a free consultation.

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