OSHA Issues Citations to Kansas Contractors After Trench Collapse

Two workers survived the January 2023 incident, but the company is facing $333,949 in proposed penalties.

A citation for willful and serious violations has been issued to one Kansas contractor after two workers survived a trench wall collapse, and another is facing a citation for one serious violation.

While a worker was in a 9-foot-deep trench in Salina, Kansas—nearly 110 miles west of Topeka, Kansas—a wall collapsed. In an attempt to rescue the buried worker, a foreman began digging, but when the wall collapsed more, he eventually found himself buried up to his knees, according to a news release. The workers, both employees of Precision Plumbing LLC, were rescued and survived the January 2023 incident.

Now, nearly six months after the trench collapse, Precision Plumbing LLC is facing a citation for two willful and six serious violations and $333,949 in proposed penalties.

While the willful violations include a lack of cave-in protection and having soil piles and equipment too close to the trench edge, the serious violations were issued for not ensuring hard hat usage, not giving workers eye protection, not “protect[ing] workers from drowning hazards due to an unsupported water pipe in the trench” and not “develop[ing] a program on chemical hazards and train workers on how to use chemicals safely,” OSHA noted.

In addition, Multicon Inc., the general contractor at the site, is also facing a citation for one serious violation and proposed penalties of $14,063. The citation was issued after OSHA discovered that a Multicon superintendent failed to ensure the trench collapse hazards they informed Precision Plumbing about were corrected, per the news release.

About the Author

Alex Saurman is a former Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety,who has since joined OH&S’s client services team. She continues to work closely with OH&S’s editorial team and contributes to the magazine.

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