According to a recent news article from the Boston Globe, two construction workers were killed when a water line ruptured. These workers were inside a trench cut into the street in Boston’s South End when the water line burst causing the trench to quickly fill with water.
One witness who was walking by at the time said it was a sudden very powerful rush of water that filled the narrow trench in just a few second’s time. There were other workers who realized what happened and yelled that there were two men down in the hole at the time of flash flooding of the trench. This trench was around 15 feet in depth at its deepest point.
The brown water quickly filled the trench and then began to overflow on the street. Witnesses immediately called 911, but by the time the fire department arrived on the scene, the entire street was flooded with brown water. It quickly became clear that this was no longer a rescue operation, and firefighters spent the next several hours trying to recover the bodies of the two men who were killed on-the-job in Boston.
The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has already begun an investigation, and the Boston Police Department has said that it does not appear foul play was involved. As our Boston workplace injury attorneys can explain, in any fatal on-the-job accident or one in which a worker is hospitalized, OSHA will conduct a full investigation into the cause of the accident. The agency will determine if the employer violated any safety regulations and was responsible for the fatal workplace accident.
If OSHA determines that there were worker safety violations, the agency will issue warnings, orders, or fines, depending on the severity of the alleged violations. While it should be noted that the agency has not found any violations at this point in their investigation, the agency did allege a series of series of safety violations against this same company a few years a ago and assessed fines in the amount of tens of thousands of dollars. These fines are documented in federal safety records.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it does not matter if the company was at fault in terms of a workers’ compensation claim. The reason for this is the workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts is a no-fault system, meaning that the employee is only required to prove that he or she is actually an employee within the meaning of the workers’ compensation statute and that the injury or illness was work related. In the case of a worker who is killed on the job, workers’ compensation is still the appropriate remedy, but the claim can involve additional damages as part of the death benefits award, including funeral expenses and a significant amount of lost wages.
Lost wages are often the most significant part of a death benefits award, because the damages will include money that would have been earned had the worker not been killed in the tragic Boston work accident.
If you or someone you love has been injured a Boston work accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.
Two workers killed in South End trench flood, October 21, 2016, By Evan Allen and Steve Annear, Boston Globe
More Blog Entries:
Parr v. Breeden – Supervisor Co-Workers Not Liable Under Workers’ Comp Exclusive Remedy, July 3, 2016, Boston Work Accident Lawyer Blog