Chili Trench Collapse Accident Killed Construction Worker Robert Fallone Jr. At Property On Bellaqua Estates Drive
MONROE COUNTY, NEW YORK (November 7, 2021) – A 56-year-old male worker identified as Robert Fallone Jr. has tragically died in a Chili trench collapse accident at a property on Bellaqua Estates Drive.
Chili police officials are saying that the accident took place around 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. Workers for a private company were digging a trench in order to get access to a sewer line.
At some point during the construction work the trench caved in and trapped Robert Fallone Jr. The trench was 15 feet deep and first responders were eventually able to pull the victim out.
First responders attempted to save the man, but those attempts were not successful. The trench worker was pronounced dead at the scene.
A full investigation into the Chili trench collapse accident that killed Robert Fallone Jr. remains ongoing at this time.
Liability In Monroe County Trench Collapse Accidents
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. Heavy items including the soil dug from the trench should be moved several feet away from the trench borders.
- Failure to properly inspect a trench can easily lead to accidents. Trenches should be inspected every time before workers start their shift. This is especially important after rain, which can cause trenches to become unstable.
- The soil at any trench site should be properly classified and examined. Different types of soil have different properties. Certain types of soil are more prone to collapse and will therefore need additional cave-in protections.
Depending on the specific facts of any case, there could be numerous sources of liability for a trench collapse accident. Companies in New York have a legal obligation to provide their workers with a reasonably safe environment. Safety regulations, OSHA guidelines and industrial codes must be follow. In general, trench collapse accidents will typically be litigated under three different statutes: New York Labor Law 200, New York State Labor Law § 240(1), New York Labor Law 241(6).
- New York Labor Law 200: This statute is a codification of an employer’s obligation to provide workers with a reasonably safe environment. Pursuant to NY Labor Law 200, “All machinery, equipment, and devices in such places shall be so placed, operated, guarded, and lighted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection to all such persons.” They are adjudicated in much the same way as a negligence claim.
- New York State Labor Law § 240(1): This statute imposes strict liability for general contractors and building owners for gravity related accidents. This could include accidents when a worker falls or is struct by a falling object. In order for the statute to apply a worker must have been performing a qualifying task including the “erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing of a building.”
- New York Labor Law 241(6): This statute creates a non-delegable duty for owners and general contractors who employ workers in construction, demolition, and excavation. Owners and general contractors must “provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety to the persons employed therein or lawfully frequenting such places.” To demonstrate liability under the statute, plaintiffs must show that an owner or general contractor violated a specific safety code. The violation itself establishes fault.
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.
- Were industrial codes violated in the creation or maintenance of the trench in question?
- Did a qualified person inspect the trench every day as required?
- How deep was the trench being dug?
- What is the safety record of the construction company that created the trench?
The family of any victim that died in a trench collapse may be able to seek justice through a wrongful death claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover lost wages, medical bills and funeral costs. The beneficiaries in a civil claim will typically include a worker’s next of kin. Sadly, though, construction companies will often fight hard to deny liability for any accident. A New York construction accident attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case free of cost and get to the bottom of what happened.
Investigating A Monroe County Trench Collapse Accident
We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Robert Fallone Jr. who died in this Chili trench collapse. Any person that may have information about what happened should reach out to investigators. It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to help prevent additional tragedies like this.
This accident also raises a number of safety concerns. Were the sides of this trench properly enforced? Did a qualified person inspect this trench every day prior to the collapse? Could this tragedy have been prevented? Far too often, these tragedies are preventable and occur when safety codes are not followed. The vast majority of trench collapses are due to trenches that are not properly reinforced. Company profits should never come at the expense of worker safety.