The family of a Long Island man who was killed after being knocked into a cesspool under construction last May is seeking $50 million in damages, alleging employers responsible for the project overlooked critical safety measures.
Edward Sinnott, 59, of Huntington, Long Island, was killed when the edge of a cesspool pit he and other workers were excavating collapsed. According to Long Island’s Newsday, Mr. Sinnott fell into the pit and suffocated under mounds of dirt that fell on top of him.
Emergency crews worked to free Mr. Sinnott from the pit but couldn’t pull him from the trench in time. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
A lawyer for Mr. Sinnott’s family told Newsday that the family remains devastated and distressed by Mr. Sinnott’s accidental death and the circumstances that led to it.
An investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Suffolk County police found serious safety violations contributed to the accident, including failure to provide adequate protective systems for workers installing cesspools.
The family’s lawsuit alleges that Mr. Sinnott’s employer, Don Antorino Sewer & Drain, did not require Mr. Sinnott and other workers to wear harnesses, safety lines, or hard hats while excavating for the cesspool.
The family also alleges that the equipment being used for the cesspool excavation was too large for the project and the pit that was being dug was improperly located and its walls were unsupported. According to Newsday, the lawsuit alleges that the defendants were aware of “repeated and chronic” flooding, water drainage problems, and other hazards that created unstable conditions and risked workers’ lives.
According to Newsday, Mr. Sinnott’s family is urging the county district attorney’s office to investigate, believing that other workers like Mr. Sinnott may be at risk of injury or death. Mr. Sinnott’s death came after another worker was killed on Long Island while digging a cesspool in November.
The lawsuit was filed Jan. 26 in Suffolk County Supreme Court.