Construction Workers are Dying in Boston’s Building Boom

Boston is in the middle of a mighty building boom, with no sign of a slowdown ahead. As new condos, college dorms and office buildings go up, the companies making a financial profit must protect construction workers.

Workers are not always protected. As ribbons are cut on new buildings, the number of workers killed on the job stands at a 10-year high in Massachusetts, according to MassCOSH. During the past month, construction accidents have injured two workers and killed one in the Boston area.

A 56-year-old Seekonk man was found dead last week at the Wynn Boston Harbor resort in Everett. According to WBZ, the worker was in the cab of an excavator, taking apart a trench box when he was struck. The cause of the impact was not reported and the accident remains under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The man worked for J. Derenzo Companies of Brockton. The company is a subcontractor of Suffolk Construction of Boston, which is building the casino.

The Boston Globe reported that OSHA has conducted previous inspections at the Wynn construction site. One involved an employee who was hit by an excavator bucket. Another worker was injured when he fell down a shaft. A third employee was injured by a scissor lift.

On March 21, two workers were injured in a scaffolding fall at Harvard University in Allston. From the fifth floor, the men fell about 20 feet down while working on Harvard’s new science and engineering building. Boston firefighters transported them to the ground with a bucket truck. One victim was said to have suffered a fractured spine and broken ribs, according to WHDH coverage.

The construction industry sees the highest number of worker deaths in Massachusetts, according to the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety (MassCOSH). In 2016, 70 workers died, including 25 construction workers.

Two of these construction workers tragically drowned in a trench in South Boston while working for Atlantic Drain Service Co. When a water pipe burst, the men were trapped and lost their lives. A great injustice was that OSHA had warned the company to safeguard its trenches. The company neglected to do so and the workers died.

In April 2017, after an investigation, OSHA cited Atlantic Drain Service Co. for 18 violations and issued a $1.5 million fine.

After these deaths, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh proposed – and the Boston City Council approved – an ordinance requiring companies to come forward and report their own OSHA violations when they apply for a city permit. City officials can deny permits if contractors have a record of failing to protect workers. They can also revoke or suspend a permit on the same basis.

Construction companies have a responsibility to make sure workers are fully trained for their job and that proper safety measures are set up. State and federal regulations must be followed to protect workers.

Breakstone, White & Gluck – Free Legal Consultation

The Boston construction accident lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck have over 100 years combined experience representing workers and their families. Our attorneys are experienced in investigating catastrophic construction accidents in Boston and Massachusetts. After a construction accident, we understand the need for prompt investigation and identification of the responsible parties, followed by aggressive representation of your best interests. We will take these steps for you and your family.

If you have been injured, learn your rights. For a free legal consultation, contact us at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.