A trench box was at at the Doherty, Giannini & Rietz Construction site in Chicago inspected during December, 2010 by OSHA. It just wasn’t being used.

Installing the trench box might have saved the Bensenville contractor the proposed penalties of $60,000 it’s facing due to the willful and repeat safety citations resulting from the inspection, which was conducted under an OSHA national emphasis program on trenching and excavation.

"Cave-ins are a leading cause of worker fatalities during excavations," said Gary Anderson, OSHA's area director in Calumet City, Ill. "This is the fourth time in recent months that OSHA has issued citations to this contractor related to the cave-in protection standard.”

The willful citation alleges that a Doherty, Giannini & Rietz Construction employee was working in a trench at a depth greater than 6 feet without cave-in protection during a December 2010 inspection.

The repeat citation was for failing to establish a safe work zone as regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation's manual on uniform traffic control devices. The company has been inspected by OSHA 27 times since 1988, resulting in 16 prior citations for lack of cave-in protection at various worksites. Four of those violations have been issued since June 2010, including the citation from the December inspection.