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Man Killed on Job Site in Franklin Township

Construction workers

A construction worker was killed on the job recently in the Somerset section of Franklin Township. Selvin Antulio Lopez-Castillo, 43, was in the process of digging an eight-foot-deep trench around the perimeter of the foundation of a home when the trench collapsed on him. His fellow workers on the job site attempted to build a wall to shore up the trench so that they could safely extract the worker, but they were unsuccessful in doing so. After a two-hour effort, emergency personnel were able to remove the worker from the collapsed trench, but he was dead by the time the rescuers reached him.

After completing a preliminary report on the accident, a representative from the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) stated that the accident killing Lopez-Castillo was due to a failure by the contractor to follow proper safety requirements to adequately shore the walls of the trench during the digging process.

According to OSHA, worker injury and death in trenches are fairly common, and very preventable. OSHA estimates that two workers die every month when trenches collapse in on them. Construction employers are required to shore the walls of a trench in some manner, and to provide a means of exit for each trench.

Construction workers account for 20% of all workplace injuries every year in the US., according to OSHA. In 2013, the last year for which statistics are available, approximately 4,101 people died on the job, with 828 of those being construction workers. Currently before the New Jersey Supreme Court is a case which will determine if construction workers can be considered partially responsible (or, “contributorily negligent”) for their injuries, and for that reason limited in their ability to recover for injuries suffered on the job. However, worker advocates maintain that, since construction workers do not have the option to refuse to do their job based on the lack of safety on a job site, such a ruling would be an unfair denial of workers’ rights.

If you’ve been hurt on the job, make sure that you’re fully compensated for your medical bills,  lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life. Consult experienced workplace injury attorney Andrew R. Jacobs for a free consultation on your workplace injury claim in New Jersey and New York. Don’t wait to seek the recovery you deserve for your injury; call 973-532-9681.

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