Employees of a Georgia contractor who were installing water and sewer lines had no safe means to enter and exit the excavation in which they were working, nor did the trench have a protective cave-in system.

Those were among the excavation hazards OSHA investigators found at a Corley Contractors, Inc. worksite in Acworth, Georgia. The Dallas, Georgia-based company - which operates as C&L Contractors - faces $106,078 in penalties.

OSHA initiated an inspection as part of the Agency’s National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Trenching and Excavation after observing employees exposed to trenching hazards.

“In a matter of seconds, employees can be seriously or fatally injured when a trench collapses,” said OSHA Atlanta-West Acting Area Office Director Jeffery Stawowy. “Employers are required to slope, shore, or shield trench walls to protect workers from cave-ins.”

View OSHA’s Construction Hazards Prevention Videos on trenching and soil classification for information on trenching safety.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed 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.