The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating an incident in New York where a ceiling collapsed and trapped two environmental cleaning workers who were prepping the building for asbestos removal. Reports state that asbestos filled the air when a large piece of concrete from the ceiling trapped the two men on Oct. 17.

There were a total of 19 people in the building at the time of the collapse. All but the two injured workers escaped and underwent asbestos decontamination. The injuries suffered by the two trapped workers were not life-threatening, and they were transported to the hospital for treatment. Reports stated that both men were conscious and alert.

The construction accident has prompted engineers to inspect the building to ensure its structural integrity. The building had been vacant for several years before the incident occurred.

The county administration plans to renovate the building and make it a family court. Law requires that asbestos be removed first.

In addition to having a ceiling fall on top of them, the two workers in this situation were exposed to potentially deadly asbestos particles. If a person is injured in a sudden accident at the workplace or faces years of medical expenses due to the negligence of an employer, he or she may be able to file a civil suit. If the injuries are not due to the negligence of an employer, a person involved in a workplace accident may still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. In both of these cases, a lawyer may be able to help the injured employee through the legal processes.

Source: CBS New York, “Two construction workers trapped when ceiling collapses in Mineola“, October 17, 2014