Gravedigger engulfed in cave-in at Long Island cemetery
An employee of St. Charles/Resurrection Cemeteries in Farmingdale, New York, was seriously injured on May 7, 2015, when the walls of the grave opening in which he was working collapsed and buried him up to his waist.
An inspection by the OSHA’s Long Island Area Office found that the excavation and its support systems lacked adequate protection against cave-ins and the excavation had not been inspected to identify such deficiencies. Other hazards included damaged equipment and the placement of excavated soil on the edge of the unprotected trench. These conditions exposed employees to the hazards of cave-in, engulfment and struck-by injuries.
“This worker literally came close to an early grave because the cemetery failed to provide proper excavation protections,” said OSHA’s Anthony Ciuffo. “This cave-in could have been prevented if proper and legally required trenching safety procedures had been followed by the employer.”
OSHA cited the company on Nov. 5, 2015, for two willful and three serious violations of workplace safety standards with proposed penalties of $123,200.
Middle Villeage-based St. John Cemetery Corp. owns and operates five cemeteries throughout the greater New York City area.