Peoples Gas System filed a federal lawsuit against Posen Construction, alleging it was negligent and violated a Florida safety law by excavating in an unmarked area and causing an explosion.
The lawsuit alleges Posen, a general contractor paid $16.7 million, destroyed markers for gas line locations, leaving them unmarked in the area of a road widening project on the south side of Colonial Boulevard, between State Road 82 and Treeline Avenue, in Fort Myers. Although contractors are urged to “call before you dig,” OSHA found no call was made before excavation.
On Nov. 11, Posen began excavating and blades from its bulldozer struck an 8-inch buried natural gas line, leading to a gas explosion that critically burned a Posen employee and caused a power outage that hurt restaurants and businesses across Southwest Florida for days.
This article about a gas line explosion outlines one of the most disastrous outcomes of negligence during an excavation project. Utilities were interrupted, businesses lost revenue because they had to shut down, and a worker was severely burned during the accident.
If there is one major point that any site improvement contractor or business owner takes out of this story, it’s that the excavation crew needs to know where any and all utility lines are before they even think about starting a dig.
The actions of the excavation contractor, Posen Construction, demonstrate an extreme case of negligence in that they knew there were utility lines there that were not marked yet, but they proceeded with digging anyway.
The end result was a severely injured worker, a lot of damage to utilities, and lost revenue for local businesses. All of these effects led to lawsuits being brought up against Posen Construction.
The company is being sued for:
- Compensation to pay for all the damage caused to the utilities due to their negligence
- Lost income by local businesses due to being unable to use gas appliances for food preparation and other services
- The elimination or reduction of customers at local businesses
- Business expenses to compensate for the gas loss
Posen Construction faces many lawsuits that could end up costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Moral of the story: Excavation companies need to have utility lines marked before they even think about breaking ground. The consequences of not doing so can be very costly for the business and potentially fatal for the workers.
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