Worker's Death in Trench Leads to Contractor's $159,600 Fine

One employee died and another was hospitalized after wet, heavy soil collapsed into a deep trench while the men were installing a sewer pipe.

L & K Contracting Co. in Dothan, Ala., is being cited with five safety violations by OSHA following a cave-in last September at an excavation site in Enterprise, Ala. One employee died and another was hospitalized after wet, heavy soil collapsed into a deep trench while the men were installing a sewer pipe. The company has been assessed $159,600 in proposed penalties.

"An unprotected trench can become a grave in seconds if its walls cave in on workers," said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA's area director in Mobile. "In this case, the soil was saturated with water, and the company failed to take the necessary measures to effectively protect the workers against this collapse."

OSHA issued three willful citations for the company's failure to take adequate action to protect workers from soil that fell into the excavation, protect workers from hazards associated with water accumulation in an excavation, and ensure that workers wore appropriate personal protective equipment while in the trench.

One serious citation was issued for allowing employees to work inside a trench approximately 10 feet deep without a safe means of exit from the excavation, and one other-than-serious citation was issued for failing to report the fatality to OSHA within the required eight-hour time period.

OSHA standards require that all trenches and excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse.

The company specializes in the installation of sewer lines in southeast Alabama.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • 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.

  • The Top 5 Safety and Technology Trends to Watch in 2019

    Get the latest on trends you can expect to hear more about in 2019, including continued growth of mobile safety applications, wearable technology, and smart PPE; autonomous vehicles; pending OSHA recordkeeping rulemaking; and increased adoption of international safety standard, ISO 45001.

  • 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.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common training questions.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

    January 2019

    Featuring:

    • PREVENTING ERRORS
      Production vs. Safety 
    • EMERGENCY SHOWERS & EYEWASH
      Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment
    • CONSTRUCTION SAFETY
      The State of Contractor Safety
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      The Three Keys to Effective Chemical Management
    View This Issue