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Ohio Company Faces $200,000 in Penalties After Fatal Trench Collapse

Ohio-based JK Excavating & Utilities Inc. is now in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program after a worker died in a trench collapse.

Employees at a Morrow, Ohio residential construction site were working in trenches up to 16 ft. deep without cave-in protection, according to agency investigators.

“A trench can collapse in seconds, burying workers under the weight of thousands of pounds of soil,” said Ken Montgomery, OSHA Cincinnati area office director, in a statement. “This tragedy was preventable, and could have been avoided if the employer had installed required protective systems to prevent a trench cave-in.”

After the fatality, OSHA cited the company for failing to use protective systems to prevent a cave-in; implement methods to remove accumulating water; properly use ladders to enter and exit the trench; prevent employees from working beneath a suspended trench box; ensure employees wore hard hats; and make provisions for prompt medical attention in the event of injury.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Source: EHS Today