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Tragedy at JFK Airport Sparks OSHA Citations for Bronx Contractor

NEW YORK — On April 3, 2023 two workers of Triumph Construction Corp. lost their lives in a trench collapse. The heart-wrenching incident occurred at a JFK Airport worksite in Queens, New York City, and was found to have resulted from the construction company’s critical safety lapses.

The incident

The unfortunate incident unfolded as two employees were attempting to remove soil from beneath a concrete slab within a trench. Tragically, the slab broke, collapsing onto the workers, inflicting fatal injuries on the pair.

OSHA investigation

After the incident, OSHA conducted a thorough investigation of the worksite, uncovering serious excavation hazards. These included the absence of proper support for a concrete slab, leaving employees exposed to the risk of a collapse

Additionally, employees were not adequately trained on safe methods for slab removal, and there was a lack of supervision to ensure these methods were followed. Furthermore, the excavation’s protective system did not adhere to OSHA standards, compounding the hazards faced by the workers. OSHA cited the company for four serious violations, proposing penalties of $59,153.

A message from OSHA

OSHA’s area director, Kevin Sullivan, emphasized the gravity of the situation, stating, “Working in excavations is inherently dangerous. Demolition of existing structures must be carefully planned, and shoring systems must be built according to their design.” He further stressed that employers must make a solemn effort to identify, assess, and manage workplace hazards as conditions change.

What happens next?

Triumph Construction Corp., a Bronx-based water and sewer line construction contractor, now faces critical decisions in the wake of these citations. They have 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference, or contest the findings..

The takeaway

The tragic incident at JFK Airport serves as a profound reminder that safety should never be taken for granted. It prompts us to recognize the need for constant vigilance and a steadfast commitment to safeguarding lives. In the world of safety, every action counts, and every life is priceless.

Use our detailed talk on eliminating hazards from the workplace to make sure you and your team stay protected.