Trench fatality leads to heavy fines for excavation firms
OSHA fined Wagner Development Co., Inc. and Wagner Excavation Services, Inc. of Coraopolis $382,875. The agency said the companies failed to protect William D. Partin, 39, of Oakdale, who died June 29 when the trench where he was laying pipe for a storm water project collapsed. The accident occurred in the Trinity Park housing plan in North Franklin Township. Another worker, Robert Dempe of McDonald, was injured in the accident but survived.
The companies failed to provide cave-in protection for employees on seven separate occasions, according to OSHA. A trench box that the companies rented following an earlier trench collapse at the site was lying unused nearby the day Partin was killed.
OSHA staff had specifically discussed trenching safety requirements with company owners and the foreman during an earlier inspection in February 2004.
Proposed penalties for the seven alleged willful citations total $367,500 while proposed penalties for the five alleged serious violations total $15,375.
The Wagner companies have 15 working days from receipt of the citations to contest them and their penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.