OSHA has levied proposed penalties of nearly $28,000 against two companies in connection with a fatal ditch collapse in Rock Hill, N.Y., on May 7, 2007, according to MidHudsonNews.com.

A 400-pound slab of pavement fell into the ditch and landed on the back of Leroy Pritchard, 46, of Hamptonburgh, N.Y., who was working on a sewer line for a house. He was killed in the incident. His body was pulled from an almost seven-foot deep ditch.

OSHA has issued citations against Olana Design and Construction Inc. and A Quick Cut Landscaping. Each was assessed proposed penalties of $13,950 and each has contested them, according to Terry Harding, OSHA assistant area director.

The citations included a multitude of safety shortcomings:

• Failure of the employer to instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions;
• The workers were not protected by helmets and insulated gloves while working underground and not knowing the exact location of underground electric power lines;
• There were no precautions taken to prevent contact with buried 12,000-volt cable while cutting or drilling rock;
• A stairway, ladder, rope or other safe means of egress was not located in trench excavation that was four feet or move in depth;
• Employees were not protected from adjacent undermined pavement;
• Employees were not protected from loose rock or soil that could fall into the ditch;
• Employees were not protected from cave-ins by an adequate protective system; and
• Daily inspections were not named by a “competent person” for evidence of a situation that could result in cave-ins or other problems.

The OSHA report said each citation was corrected during inspection.