A South Dakota worker who was completely buried in a trench collapse earlier this year survived only because co-workers were able to free his head, allowing him to breathe while emergency personnel worked for more than 30 minutes to free him.
An Auburn, Ala.-based contractor exposed workers to dangerous cave-in hazards and failed to use safety measures to prevent excavation collapse, OSHA inspectors found, in an investigation conducted as part of the agency’s National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation.
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has launched an initiative aimed at making sure the underground utility industry follows best practices for excavation, in an effort to save lives and avoid property damage.
A company whose employee was critically injured in a trench collapse repeatedly ignored warnings that the excavation was unsafe – including one on the day of the incident. An employee of R.E. Arnold Construction Inc. was trapped when the wall of an excavation he was working in collapsed around him as he was removing dirt from a storm filtration system.
One month later: company still has no cave-in protection
September 17, 2013
OSHA has cited Taylor’s Drain and Sewer Service in Lincoln, Neb. for ten safety violations after a worker was buried waist deep when a 9’ trench he was working in collapsed. The worker suffered a serious injury in the March, 2013 incident and required surgery.
OSHA has cited SER Construction Partners LLC with one willful violation for exposing workers repairing a water line to excavation hazards at its Conroe work site on State Highway 242. OSHA's Houston North Area Office began its December 2012 inspection as part of a national emphasis program on trenching and excavation.
In Mississippi, the work involved gas and water lines. In Texas, sewer lines. What the two work sites had in common was that both involved trenches more than five feet deep, and neither provided its workers with protection against cave-ins.
OSHA has cited Loveland, Ohio-based Carter Construction Co. Inc. with four – including two willful – safety violations for exposing workers to excavation hazards while installing an underground storm sewer pipe in a 20-foot-deep trench in Montgomery.
OSHA has cited Cavalieri Construction Co. Inc. for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards at a Chelsea worksite. The Everett-based contractor faces a total of $40,700 in proposed fines for excavation hazards identified during OSHA's April inspection of the work site.