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NYC Tunnel Worker Injuries

A Tunnel Worker Injury Lawyer in New York Who Cares About Your Rights

Digging tunnels is brutal work, especially in and around New York City. Excavating, drilling, blasting rock, pouring concrete-it's all part of the job for NYC sandhogs, as tunnel-diggers are called, whether it's a water tunnel or underground tunnel that the MTA is building. Because of the constant risks of being exposed to dust, gases, particles, diesel exhaust, falling concrete and defective power tools, tunnel work injuries and fatalities frequently occur, sometimes in a catastrophic tunnel accident, excavation accident or over time in the form of respiratory illnesses. Tunnel failure collapse accidents can also occur, resulting in serious injuries and fatalities.

As dedicated NYC workplace injury attorneys representing hurt tunnel diggers and other construction workers for over 90 years, we've seen the damage this type of dangerous underground job environment does to these hard-working New Yorkers. That’s why injured tunnel workers in New York rely on our work injury attorneys at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP to help them every step of the way. We know the federal, state and city laws that apply to tunnel accidents in New York City. We understand how the legal system works. That’s why we consistently achieve positive results.

Why do tunnel work accidents happen?

Strict safety protocols need to be followed when performing tunnel work. When these standard safety practices are ignored, accidents often occur. Examples include:

  • Poor lighting
  • Bad ventilation
  • Hazardous materials
  • Flammable materials
  • Falling debris
  • Poor electrical safety
  • Explosions
  • Failure to provide safety equipment, including headlamps, respirators, and hardhats
  • Lack of training
  • Defective water pumps
  • Bad structural supports

Common tunnel work injuries

  • Burns and electrical injuries from electrical lines
  • Burns or suffocation from harmful gas
  • Respiratory diseases, often caused by long-term exposure to hazardous chemicals
  • Broken bones
  • Back injuries, including spinal cord injuries
  • Concussions or other head injuries due to being hit by falling debris
  • Silica dust exposure

If you have breathing problems and inflamed lungs due to tunnel silicosis, call us

Some of the most tragic, but increasingly common tunnel worker injuries are life-threatening lung illnesses, including silicosis, which is a form of the occupational lung disease pneumoconiosis, with symptoms similar to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In a report by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, COPD was present in 14% of the tunnel workers studied.

Silicosis is caused by particles of silica dust that are trapped in alveoli (small sacs) in the lungs, resulting in inflamed lymph nodes and fluid in the lungs, making breathing difficult and lowering blood oxygen levels. It can lead to progressive massive fibrosis, which causes severe lung scarring, and tuberculosis.

Silicosis has been killing sandhogs since the 1930s

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, deaths from inhalation of silica-containing dust can occur after a few months' exposure. The disease was first documented in the early 1930s when over 30% of tunnel workers died from silicosis after exposure to crystalline silica dust while boring through Gauley Mountain. Despite the long history of tunnel job lung diseases-since Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano first opened its doors 90 years ago-even some silicosis victims have their workers compensation claim denied. Workers compensation insurance companies will insist the worker's breathing problems are due to pre-existing conditions, despite documented silica overexposure.

Tunnel work can be dangerous for a wide variety of reasons

In addition to lung problems, tunnel diggers throughout New York also suffer broken bones, back injury, shoulder and neck injury, knee injuries, and injuries requiring surgery due to collapsing tunnels or other tunnel accidents. We also represent construction workers injured in trench collapses and other excavation accidents.

If you're an NYC sandhog with silicosis, a lung disease, asthma or other breathing illness due to tunnel work, or if you are a construction worker hurt in a tunnel accident, call us toll-free at (800) 692-3717 or contact us online for a free evaluation. And if you lost a loved one who died due to tunnel work wrongful death, we deeply sympathize and encourage you to contact us so we can help you recover financially, particularly if you've lost the sole breadwinner of the family. Our skilled NYC tunnel accident lawyers have been representing union members since we opened our doors and can help you, too.