When it comes to accidents and injuries, most of what we read and hear about in the average news cycle concerns Massachusetts motor vehicle accidents. Obviously, that’s a function of the number of vehicles on the road, and mathematics.
Not so often seen, or written about, are Massachusetts construction site accidents. These types of accidents are often of the catastrophic variety, since they usually involve heavy equipment and dangerous working conditions. When construction workers suffer injuries on the job, they can be extremely serious. Unfortunately, that reality was brought home on Tuesday of this week, when a man who was operating a front-end loader was crushed and smothered to death by an avalanche of sand at a construction site in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
The accident occurred at about 11 a.m. at the P.A. Landers work site on Hedge’s Pond Road, according to a statement issued by the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office. Upon arrival, first responders found the driver of the front-end loader apparently trapped underneath almost 150 feet of sand where the loader had been operating. That driver was Charles Pace, 66, of Whitman, Massachusetts. According to investigators, an avalanche approximately 150 feet high came cascading down upon the machine and its driver. Rescue workers tried in vain to reach the victim, but were forced to retreat because as they dug in to the avalanche that had buried the driver, more sand just kept collapsing down from the mountain of sand above them. Rescuers were not able to retrieve the man’s body until 4 hours later. Plymouth Fire Department Chief Edward Bradley commented that Mr. Pace’s death was due to “a combination of suffocation with all the weight of the sand. It came cascading down the hill. It’s like an avalanche with snow on it except it was all sand.”
Mr. Pace was pronounced dead at the scene. According to a son, his father had been working with P.A. Landers for 14 years and had three children and 8 grand-children.
What an awful tragedy for this man, and his family. Initial reports claim that the work site had been inspected a few weeks ago, and reportedly passed. OSHA investigators have been assigned to investigate the accident. Fox 25 Boston provided some photos of the accident scene.
My sympathies go out to Mr. Pace’s children, his family and loved ones. As a Massachusetts construction site accident attorney, I’ve seen terrible construction site accidents like this, too often. Obtaining legal compensation for the survivors of such fatalities takes successful experience with construction site fatalities; the ‘average’ law firm really isn’t suited for this type of specialized litigation. This tragedy underscores once more, that more vigilance must be paid to worker safety, to hopefully prevent future such Massachusetts Construction site accidents.