OSHA Dings Companies Over Trench Hazards

The phrase “in the trenches” suggests an individual willing to get his or hands dirty in order to get the job done. For workers in the construction industry, the trench can pose a hazard to life and limb.

Just this past week the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited two construction contractors for trench-related safety hazards.

One citation was against a Jolliet, Illinois contractor for ignoring the dangers of trench collapse. The company, which has been in business for 50 years, has a history of allowing employees to work in unsafe trenches. The latest offense occurred when the employees were excavating utility lines 7-feet deep in June 2016 at a Torrence Avenue job site.

In the second case, OSHA proposed more than $121,000 in fines for construction companies that exposed workers to trench cave-in hazards at a project in Austin, Texas.

Austin Constructors LLC was cited for one willful and three serious violations involving trenching hazards. The willful violation was for not having an adequate protective system in place for employees in the trench. The serious violations were for failing to support and cover utility lines in the trench, not protecting employees from loose rock or soil, and for not providing guardrails on walkways over the trench.

The second company, Muniz Concrete and Contracting Inc., which was in charge of the worksite, was also cited for one serious violation for exposing workers to trench cave-in hazards.

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