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17 Year Old dies after faling into open manhole possibly opened by snowplow

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by D Mack, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. D Mack

    D Mack Member
    from L.I N.Y
    Messages: 34

    A 17 year old Dunkin Donuts employee died when he fell into an open manhole in Smithtown Long Island. He was taking out the garbage about a day after our last snow storm and fell into a manhole containing sewage and apparently drown. My first thought was that a snowplow dislodged the cover and the driver was not aware of it. I just heard on the radio that the Police Dept is investigating to see if that is what happened. It's a horrible accident. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and to see if they hold the plow driver responsible.
  2. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    I was back dragging snow from a garbage bin enclosure when I pulled out a manhole cover with my tractor blade. Its odd if it was the operator fault , that he would not see it. And how would it be proved that it was him unless the cover was stacked/piled with snow in a snow bank.
  3. f250man

    f250man PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,124

    That is horrible to hear.
  4. DaySpring Services

    DaySpring Services PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,065

    That still wouldn't exactly prove it. Someone could have taken it off and put it in the pile or in the parking lot, plow guy comes along and in the pile it goes.The odds of him not putting the truck in the hole are low, but it can happen.
  5. L.I.Mike

    L.I.Mike Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    They found parts of the manhole cover in the cesspool. Theory being that it broke when he walked on it.
    That is according to todays newsday.
  6. ShorePower

    ShorePower Senior Member
    Messages: 116

    It might have been cracked. But being that the lot has been plowed recently and for multiple storms, you can garauntee that the plowing co. will be brought into the lawsuit. Fault can be determined by percentage. This is why insuring yourself is crucial. You never know. But when something like this happens it can be the end for you and all that you have worked for over the years. Lawsuits are rough.
  7. plowinli

    plowinli Member
    Messages: 59

    I wouldn't be surprised if the fault lies witht he cesspool guys that pumped it out. I have seen some beat the hell out of the covers with a sledge to bust up the rust so can open them. All it take is one idiot hitting it in the middle instead of around the edge to crack the cover. One other thing from the picture of the pieces of the cover, it looks like a light duty cover that should not be in a parking area.
  8. fireball

    fireball PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 545

    my dad did this in Mexico city. He and a friend were walking down the street in a crowd of people looking at the signs above the stores when he stepped into it. He got to see parts of Mexico city that most tourists don't see. They found him about two miles away. He keep thinking that there should be ladders to the surface somewhere. His friend had a hard time convincing the authorities that he went into the drink. Crazy gringos. Took a whole layer of skin and clothes off him. He was lucky he didn't drown

    NICHOLS LANDSCA PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,362

    Hopefully he hit his head and was knocked out so he didn't even realize what happened. I don't see how the plow co could be held liable unless it was somewhere that they shouldn't have been driving. If it was in the lot they would have to hold every delivery truck, garbage truck, and customer that drove in the lot responsible.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2010
  10. PTSolutions

    PTSolutions PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,537

    thats absolutely awful to hear. condolences to his family.
  11. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    so sad to hear, manhole covers can be dangerous and such a PITA
  12. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    i doubt the snow removal company can be blamed for this, especially if the manhole cover broke to pieces, more likely manufacturer, property owner, or municipality
  13. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    plows etc.


    If the lot is poorly lit and the garbage dumpsters are in the back in an enclosure usuallyy set on the apron where the sediment/solids tanks are..................

    Typically a remote location requires a "solids catch basin tank" AKA septic tank prior to discharge into a sewer line to eliminate solids entering a sewer pipeline served by remote locations-villages with small sewer plants require them for small sewer plants using oxidation ditches for sewage treatment.

    A sanitary or strom sewer manhole is usually set flush with the ground in 99 percent of the installations and typically an elevated manhole cover and catch basin is used for a primary sediment catch basin for commercial laundrys and businesses which generate large quantities of solids like bakeries and other food preparation businesses and are pumped every few months to avoid plugging the sewers.

    The kicker is that a septic tank manhole cover and manhole chamber are not required to be below the surface of the pavement in that case which would hinder the proper maintenance of the chamber by pumping and or shoveling the dirt and grease out.

    If the concrete cover(it sounds like one to me was broken in many pieces)not good.........................................................

    In most all cases a cast iron manhole cover rated for street use has ribs cast into the underside of the manhole cover to increase its strengh adding additonal mass to the manhole cover.

    The ribs are cast so they are spaced 60 degrees apart to make the man hole cover stronger by adding the ribs of steel in the casting to reduce any possible flexing of the manhole cover to almosr zero percent -ours were bought that way anyway.

    OH BOY a hot problem for the doughnut shop and the plower who is responsible for maintaining the lot.

    The typical concrete extension cover has little reinforcement rebar when they are are cast.

    It seems as if he was dragging the bag or bags behind him and fell in hitting his chest and them his head

    knocking him unconscious and then drowning in the solids tank.

    This is not good for anyone in any case.

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2010
  14. JCI Trans

    JCI Trans Senior Member
    Messages: 315

    There were supposedly 10 summonses in the past year to the landowner for "parking lot maintenance issues". There were also lights out that would have lit the area he was walking in. FD removed him then sent a SCUBA team in to search for any other possible victims before they brought the town in to pump ut out. It is a very horrible and probably preventable incident
  15. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    septic tank drowning

    Ah yes- the I will worry about it later/lost paper work excuse syndrome strikes again.

    There is plenty of proof now for the family of the young boy who died this way as the summonses exist.

    I would be willing to say the shop managers had to file work orders for on site repairs and they were not approved and the managers had no authority to make repairs and contract for them on an as needed basis as well.

  16. JCI Trans

    JCI Trans Senior Member
    Messages: 315

    He was conscious when he went in, his cousin who also worked there heard him yelling for help.
  17. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    dunkin donuts

    He would have become exhausted by trying to tread water and the gas build up in the tank from his breaking the crust suffocated him.

    The typical septic tank has no ladders like a pumping chamber transfer station.

    Normally these things are installed with a collar on the surface with a physically locked entry lid avoiding any issues with flush surface installations.

    The owners of the franchise will be held accountable as well as the plow driver and then the the depositions will be further examination for any legal action as it is treated as a work place death involving OSHA and its so called regulating and enforcement issues-

    Meaning the incident will be strictly determined as a willful violation of OSHA and local building codes standards or not with the OSHA standards being the overiding enforcement with fines to the franchisee.

    It will also be a factor involving the snow plower as well with the reasonable care and due diligence issues as relates to the plowers culpability as the lid was not stolen and or sold for scrap.

    plenty of blame in all directions

    Lax enforcement of the summonses at the local level by the local municipal legal entity,

    The corporate or individual holder of franchise demonstrating lack of care or appearance of same and whether it was determined to be a wilfull violation-always a sticking point within legal definitions of the law and regulations.

    The frenchisee's attorneys will request depositions and a discovery period with regard to determing the employee's physical condition and any evidence of impairment will be used by the franchisee's attorneys wanting blood and urine samples (as evidence)

    The lighting will be a huge issue if the franchisee proves work orders were placed and requested of a licenced electrical contractor to repair bad lighting fixtures and blown light bulbs replaced by a man lift/ bucket truck.

    The electrical contractor may cite the lack of work space available to repair the lighting using ladders if they do not own a bucket truck or man lift or easily rent one,

    and obtaining court orders for blood and urine samples after death if the body has not been released to the next of kin family, been embalmed, or cremated per family custom and desires of next of kin and seekingt full disclosure of any and all medical records and any medical conditionsIncluding possible suicidal tendencies not previuosly disclosed by the employee if a physical was not a precondition of employment by requesting a court order.

    no one wins and a family lost a child- just like mine did

  18. Tony Bonventre

    Tony Bonventre Sponsor
    Messages: 89

    Taking me back to SMG Days

    December 2004, Palisades mall in westchester NY. a Series of unfortunate events,
    At approx 6:00 the loader operator decided to remove his pusher and run just a bucket.
    At approx 6:15 said loader hits a man hole knocking the cover off
    At approx 7:00 cover reported to the mall security
    At approx 7:15 Mall guards arrive and push a shopping cart over said hole
    at approx 7:30 Grandma gets out of her care an decide she needs a shopping cart grabs hold of the shopping cart and begins to push it down the hole she goes
    at approx 7:45 same loader clearing an area of the parking lot landing zone for a med flight
    Luckily grandma returned home a week latter with not much more than a broken hip.
  19. L.I.Mike

    L.I.Mike Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    I was talking to th cespool guy about this tragedy as he was pumping out mine. He was saying once you go in the pool the methane gas is what kills you,
    It is a tragedy either way. My condolences to the family.
  20. mkwl

    mkwl 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,362

    That's a real shame- I can certainly see how that would happen, as I had it happen to me lol...

    I was about 6 years old, and we had just gotten home from our house upstate, it was late at night, and we had to walk our dog. So my Mom, Dad, brother, and myself set off on a "quick walk" with the dog down our street. I was walking along the curb when all of a sudden I felt myself falling down,and into freezing cold water. I had fallen into a storm sewer, which the cover had apparantly been pulled off of by the plow trucks that plowed our road earlier that day (blizzard of '96). Luckily, the hole was only about 4' down, so my Dad was able to pull me out, and take my inside, dry off, clam my nerves, and bandage up some cuts I acquired on the way down. I was lucky I wasn't seriously hurt! Aside from some minor cuts, bruises and being VERY cold, I was okay. Scared the CR@P out of me though :eek::help: Moral of the story... don't walk around at night on freshly plowed roads without a flashlight!