OSHA trench hazard warning poster

An Ohio company has learned the hard way that failing to provide cave-in protection for its workers can result in...cave-ins, and OSHA citations.

An employee of G & G Enterprises in Morrow, Ohio suffered a back injury last January when a trench caved in during the installation of an 8-foot-deep sewer line.

Following an investigation into the incident, OSHA hit G & J with willful and serious safety violations. Proposed penalties total $49,200.

The willful violation -- which is committed with "intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements" -- was for failing to provide workers with cave-in protection.

Two serious violations include failing to require workers to use head protection as well as to train workers to recognize the hazards involved in excavation work.

OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available at www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.

The company was cited by OSHA in 2011 and 2009 for violations of trench protection standards.