Trench Collapse Costs Employer $106K in Fines

This latest trench collapse was costly of course to the injured employees but also to their employer.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited T.H. Construction Co. after two employees suffered serious injuries when a trench collapsed at a construction site in Lincoln, Nebraska. OSHA proposed penalties of $106,078 for one willful violation of its trench safety standards.

Two employees suffered injuries when a portion of the trench wall caved in as they repaired fiber optic cable. A third employee escaped injury. OSHA cited the company for failing to use protective systems to prevent a collapse.

“Compliance with trenching and excavation regulations is not optional,” said OSHA Omaha Area Office Director Jeff Funke. “Employers are legally required to use appropriate protective systems to ensure that workers are not injured.”

OSHA recently updated the National Emphasis Program on preventing trenching and excavation collapses, and developed a series of compliance assistance resources to help keep workers safe from these hazards. The agency’s trenching and excavation webpage provides information on trenching hazards and solutions. Additional information is available in OSHA’s construction hazards prevention videos on trenching and soil classification.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the 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 help 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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