OSHA is reminding employers that they must provide cave-in protection whenever their employees work in excavations five feet or deeper.
The warning from the workplace safety agency's Bridgeport Area Office follows
its investigation into the Jan. 10, 2007, death of an employee at the Tamarack
Country Club, Greenwich, Conn., who was killed in a cave-in while installing
drainage pipes in an unprotected six-foot deep trench on the club's golf
"I want all employers in southwestern Connecticut whose employees work in
excavations to focus on this accident and take steps to ensure that this
doesn't happen to their employees," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area
director in Bridgeport.
OSHA's inspection found that the trench's walls had not been shored, sloped or
otherwise protected against collapse. OSHA cited Tamarack and fined it $20,250
for seven violations of safety standards, including the unguarded trench,
improper storage of excavated materials and lack of employee training. The
country club has accepted the citations and agreed to correct all hazards, pay
the fine, and develop and implement a safety and health program.
Excavation safety is a top priority for OSHA and an inspector will stop and
open an inspection on the spot if he or she observes an apparently unprotected
trench. Detailed information on excavation safety, including a trenching
"Quick Card" and an interactive eTool, is available on OSHA's Web
site at www.osha.gov/SLTC/constructiontrenching/index.html.