Trenching Hazards Lead to $67,000 Fine for Delaware Construction Firm

OSHA has cited Daisy Construction Co. for alleged trenching hazards found at a Dover, Del., worksite. Proposed penalties total $67,000.

OSHA initiated an inspection after being notified of a potential imminent danger while workers were installing utility lines. As a result of the inspection, the company was cited for two willful violations with a $63,000 penalty and one serious violation with a $4,000 penalty.

"Excavation is recognized as one of the most hazardous construction operations. However, cave-ins are easily avoided when the proper precautions are taken," said Domenick Salvatore, director of OSHA's Wilmington Area Office. "By bypassing necessary safeguards, the company left its workers at risk of serious injury and possible death."

The willful violations were due to the company's failure to provide employees working in an excavation with an adequate protective system to prevent cave-ins and to prevent employees from working in an unprotected trench. Willful violations are those committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for legal requirements, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

The serious violation was due to the company's failure to instruct employees on how to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions. OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

To read detailed information on excavation hazards and safeguards, visit OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.

Daisy Construction Co. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, meet with the OSHA area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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