Lack of Cave-in Protection Prompts On-the-Spot Inspection, Citations

An unprotected excavation and other hazards at a Hillsborough, N.H., jobsite have resulted in OSHA proposing $76,500 in fines against a Pembroke, N.H.-based contractor. East Coast Utilities was cited for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards at a sewer line installation site located at the intersection of West Main and School Streets. OSHA opened its inspection on July 23, 2007, after agency inspectors spotted an employee entering an apparent unprotected excavation. The inspection revealed that employees working in an excavation that ranged from 8 feet, 5 inches to 11 feet, 6 inches in depth lacked adequate protection against a potential collapse of its walls. OSHA standards require that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse.

As a result, OSHA issued the company one willful citation, with a proposed fine of $70,000, for the lack of cave-in protection. "An unprotected excavation can collapse in moments, burying employees beneath tons of soil and debris before they have a chance to react or escape," said Francis Pagliuca, OSHA's acting area director in Concord. "The hazard is so severe that OSHA inspectors will stop and open an inspection on the spot whenever they observe an unprotected excavation, as happened in this case."

Three serious citations, carrying an additional $6,500 in fines, were issued for other hazards identified during the inspection. These included an excavator and a section of concrete curbing located within two feet of the excavation's edge; a ladder that did not extend at least 3 feet above the edge of the excavation; and a backhoe that lacked a backup alarm or a spotter to warn employees. "Left uncorrected, these conditions expose employees to the hazards of engulfment, crushing, falls and being struck by the backhoe," Pagliuca said. Detailed information on trenching and excavation safety, including an interactive e-Tool, is available on OSHA's Web site at www.osha.gov/SLTC/constructiontrenching/index.html.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Levels of a Risk Matrix

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe
TenCate FR Technology

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - October 2020

    October 2020

    Featuring:

    • FACILITY SECURITY
      EHS Compliance: Make it Personal
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      Choosing the Right Safety Shoe for Your Industry
    • HAND PROTECTION
      A Requirements Checklists for Work Safety Gloves
    • COVID-19 MANAGEMENT
      Contemporary Issues in HSE Management
    View This Issue