Pa. Firm Fined $48,500 Following Worker's Trench Entrapment

OSHA has cited J.L. Fink Inc. for one alleged willful and six serious safety and health violations at its worksite in Hollidaysburg, Pa., proposing a total of $48,500 in penalties. The agency's Pittsburgh Area Office initiated an investigation May 11 after being notified by Blair County Search and Rescue that a worker installing a sewer line was trapped in a trench.

"The lack of cave-in protection leaves employees at grave risk of injury or death due to trench cave-ins," said Robert Szymanski, OSHA's Pittsburgh Area director. "Excavation contractors must take the appropriate steps in accordance with OSHA's construction standards to ensure they are digging trenches and not graves."

The agency issued a willful citation for the company's failing to provide cave-in protection for employees working in a trench excavation six feet deep with vertical walls. Cave-in protective systems can include sloping and benching of the soil of various shoring methods to prevent soil collapse, as well as the use of trench shields, OSHA noted. The agency defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The serious violations include the company's failure to initiate and implement an accident prevention program, adequately inspect the jobsite, and instruct employees in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and regulations at the site, as well as failure to provide a means of egress from the trench. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

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

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - May 2022

    May 2022

    Featuring:

    • WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY
      How Wearable Technology is Transforming Safety and the Industrial Workplace
    • TRAINING: CONFINED SPACES
      Five Tips to Improve Safety in Confined Spaces
    • INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE
      Monitor for Asbestos to Help Save Lives
    • PPE: FALL PROTECTION
      Fall Protection Can Be Surprising
    View This Issue