One of the most common places on construction sites in Connecticut is the wooden chute extending from an upper level of the structure into a dumpster or the box of a heavy truck. The chutes are used to safely and efficiently discard debris from an upper level as work progresses. While the chutes are a relatively safe alternative to merely tossing construction trash to the ground, they must be regularly cleared of debris and checked for structural weakness to prevent collapse or other construction accident. The collapse of a debris chute on a construction site Tappan, N.Y. provides a potentially tragic illustration of the risks posed by debris chutes.

Workers were renovating the German Masonic Home in Tappan when a debris chute leading from the third floor to a dumpster on the ground became clogged with waste construction materials. Two workers employed by a subcontractor were attempting to clear the chute, and they decided to detach it from the structure. The chute collapsed and fell upon one of the workers. The weight of the chute prevented the worker from breathing, and it was too heavy to be removed by manual effort.

Rescue workers were called to the scene, and officers, firefighters and other emergency workers climbed into the dumpster to free the worker. He was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where he was reported to be in critical condition. The injured worker will be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. He may also have a third party claim against the general contractor and any other party who was involved with construction or maintenance of the chute.

Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one in a construction site accident may wish to consult an experienced workers compensation attorney for advice on obtaining workers’ compensation benefits. A knowledgeable lawyer can also provide advice on pursuing a third-party claim against any non-employer parties that may have been completely or partially at fault for the mishap.

Source: lohud, “Tappan: Worker in critical condition after being crushed by debris chute,” Christopher J. Eberhart, Feb. 23, 2018