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Man Killed In Champion Ditch Collapse Accident

Redwood Man Died After Walls of Trench Caved In On Him During Construction Project

Man Killed In Champion Ditch Collapse Accident

TOWN OF CHAMPION, NEW YORK (May 27, 2023) – A Redwood man has tragically died in a Champion trench collapse accident during the installation of drainage line.

Jefferson County officials are saying that the accident took place on Thursday morning. A 59-year-old worker was installing a drainage line at a residential construction site on Freedom Drive.

The worker was in the ditch when the earth wall around him collapsed. The collapse left the worker partially buried.

Paramedics were called to the scene in order to help the man. He was taken to a Carthage Area Hospital where he died due to his injuries.

A full investigation by OSHA remains ongoing at this time.

Liability For Champion Trench Collapses

The years 2019 and 2020 were particularly deadly for construction workers digging trenches. According to one report from Equipment World, 2019 and 2020 are tied for the second deadliest year for trench collapse accidents in the last decade. The leading cause of trench collapses remains inadequate cave-in protection. There are many other factors that could potentially contribute to a trench collapse.

  • Stress on top of the soil above a trench can cause a collapse.
  • Failure to properly inspect a trench can easily lead to accidents.
  • Different types of soil have different properties. Certain types of soil are more prone to collapse and will therefore need additional cave-in protections.

A construction company or general contractor could be held liable through New York Labor Law 241(6) if they failed to incorporate adequate cave-in protection to the sides of a trench prior to a collapse. As outlined in New York Industrial Code Section 23-4.2, the walls of any trench that is five feet or deeper must be properly shored and braced with sheeting in order to prevent collapses.  Per the code, “Such sheeting and shoring system shall be in contact with the sides or banks of such trench or excavation. A designated person shall carefully inspect such sheeting and shoring at least once each day and more frequently in the event of rain.” A full investigation should be conducted after any trench collapse. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any trench collapse.

  • Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
  • Medical records should be preserved.
  • Surveillance footage should be sought.
  • A thorough investigation should be conducted.

Far from being “freak occurrences,” trench collapses are often predictable and involve some amount of negligence. The family of any person that is killed in a trench collapse may be able to seek some measure of justice through a civil claim. A civil claim can help cover many of the expenses that come with the sudden loss of a loved one. A construction accident attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.

Investigating New York Trench Collapses

We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of the worker that died in this collapse. There needs to be a thorough investigation into what went wrong. It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to prevent other tragedies like this.

Have you or someone that you care about been harmed in a Champion trench collapse accident? There are a number of laws designed to protect your rights. Our team of construction safety advocates are here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that accident victims are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (516) 908-9792.


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Jeff Korek

Jeff S. Korek

Senior Trial Partner​

Jeff S. Korek joined Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. in 1992 as the Senior Trial partner. Known for his meticulous preparation and dedication to his clients, Jeff has obtained some of the state’s highest verdicts and settlements.