OSHA has cited Karrenbrock Excavating LLC for allowing two employees to work in an unprotected trench while installing sewers. The company faces proposed penalties of $189,221.

OSHA inspectors determined that the company failed to:

  • use benching, sloping, shoring, or other protective systems to prevent a trench collapse
  • conduct regular inspections of the jobsite
  • adequately train workers to recognize and avoid unsafe trench conditions
  • ensure a safe means for exiting the excavation; and
  • ensure that excavated materials were kept at least 2 feet from the trench edge.

OSHA initiated the inspection under its National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation.

“A trench can collapse in seconds and trap workers under thousands of pounds of soil,” said OSHA St. Louis Area Office Director Bill McDonald. “Employers performing excavation work must develop and implement safety procedures to properly protect their employees from cave-ins, and train crews to recognize and evaluate hazards.”