Big Fine Issued in Unsafe Trenching Case

"A trench can collapse in seconds and trap workers under thousands of pounds of soil," said OSHA St. Louis Area Office Director Bill McDonald. "Employers performing excavation work must develop and implement safety procedures to properly protect their employees from cave-ins, and train crews to recognize and evaluate hazards."

OSHA announced July 19 it has cited Karrenbrock Excavating LLC for allowing two employees to work in an unprotected trench while installing sewers in Lebanon, Mo. The company faces proposed penalties of $189,221.

OSHA inspectors determined the company failed to use benching, sloping, shoring, or other protective systems to prevent a trench collapse; conduct regular inspections of the job site; adequately train workers to recognize and avoid unsafe trench conditions; ensure a safe means for exiting the excavation; and ensure that excavated materials were kept at least 2 feet from the trench edge. OSHA initiated the inspection under its National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation.

"A trench can collapse in seconds and trap workers under thousands of pounds of soil," said OSHA St. Louis Area Office Director Bill McDonald. "Employers performing excavation work must develop and implement safety procedures to properly protect their employees from cave-ins, and train crews to recognize and evaluate hazards."

Karrenbrock Excavating LLC has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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