OSHA Emphasizes Cave-In Protection Following Fatal Trench Collapse (4/27)
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 course.
"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.