The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited JK Excavating & Utilities Inc. after an employee suffered fatal injuries in a trench collapse. OSHA has proposed penalties of $202,201, and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
OSHA investigators determined that employees at a residential construction site in Morrow, Ohio, were working in trenches up to 16-feet deep without adequate cave-in protection. OSHA cited the company for failing to use protective systems to prevent a cave-in; implement methods to remove accumulating water; properly use ladders to enter and exit the trench; prevent employees from working beneath a suspended trench box; ensure employees wore hard hats; and make provisions for prompt medical attention in the event of injury.
“A trench can collapse in seconds, burying workers under the weight of thousands of pounds of soil,” said Ken Montgomery, OSHA Cincinnati Area Office Director. “This tragedy was preventable, and could have been avoided if the employer had installed required protective systems to prevent a trench cave-in.”
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov.
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