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Wrongful death lawsuit claims construction worker was buried alive

Updated August 10, 2022 - 5:04 pm

A wrongful death lawsuit claims a Las Vegas construction worker was buried alive this year while working in a trench.

According to the suit, 32-year-old Rigoberto Canas Ramos was working for a subcontractor on March 31 at a construction site near Kyle Canyon and Oso Blanca roads when a truck arrived to pour cement into a trench. He then jumped into the trench to retrieve some tools to help pour the cement.

“The cement was poured shortly after the truck arrived, but Rigo’s fellow employees noticed that Rigo was not with them,” the complaint states. “Rigo’s fellow employees immediately rushed to the trench where Rigo went to retrieve the tools to try and locate Rigo and found that a substantial amount of dirt had been poured into the trench.”

The suit was filed Monday in Clark County District Court on behalf of the man’s family and names developer KB Home and the consulting firm Customized Safety and Quality Solutions as defendants. It alleges negligence on the part of both companies.

Emails requesting comment from the defendants were not returned.

According to the complaint, fellow employees attempted to rescue Canas Ramos by frantically digging by hand and using an excavator but eventually discovered the man’s lifeless body under the dirt.

“On information and belief, no safety consultants were at the Subject Property at or near the time when Rigo was buried alive,” the suit states. “On information and belief, if KB or CSQS had complied with the standard of care for construction safety in the State of Nevada, Rigo would be alive today.”

The suit asks for special, general and punitive damages, all in excess of $15,000, with the actual amount to be determined at trial. Attorney Chasen Cohan represents the plaintiffs.

Canas Ramos had two children, according to the suit.

There has been an alarming rise in trench-related construction fatalities this year, according to a July news release from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA, which has stepped up enforcement actions, noted that trenching work claimed the lives of 22 people in the first six months of 2022. There were 15 such fatalities in all of 2021.

“In a matter of seconds, workers can be crushed and buried under thousands of pounds of soil and rocks in an unsafe trench,” Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker said in the news release. “The alarming increase in the number of workers needlessly dying and suffering serious injuries in trenching incidents must be stopped.”

The Las Vegas death is being investigated by Nevada OSHA.

Contact Glen A. Meek at gmeek@reviewjournal.com or 602-380-8951. Follow @GlenMeekLV on Twitter.

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