$66,000 Fine Issued in Fatal California Trench Collapse

On May 9, two Empire Equipment Services workers were installing sewer pipes at the site when a 30-foot-wide section of the trench's sidewall sloughed and collapsed. Only one of the workers was able to escape.

Cal/OSHA has cited a contractor and issued a $66,000 penalty in connection with a fatal trench collapse at a Lake Forest residential construction site. A worker died with a 17-foot-deep trench collapsed on him. The agency said its investigators determined that Empire Equipment Services, Inc. did not properly classify the soil and failed to correctly slope the excavation.

On May 9, two Empire Equipment Services workers were installing sewer pipes at the site when a 30-foot-wide section of the trench's sidewall sloughed and collapsed. Only one of the workers was able to escape. Cal/OSHA's investigation found the company failed to ensure the site was inspected by someone who was deemed competent by the employer and familiar with trench hazards, soil classification, and the appropriate safety requirements. The soil at the work site was unstable, requiring an adequate protective system.

"Because working in excavations is so dangerous, a competent person must conduct thorough visual and manual tests to properly classify the soil and adequately protect employees from cave-ins," said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. "Failing to carry out these requirements can be fatal."

Cal/OSHA issued citations to Empire Equipment Services Inc. for two serious accident-related violations and one general violation with $66,000 in proposed penalties. One of the serious violations is classified as repeat. In August 2017, Cal/OSHA had cited the employer, with $24,670 in penalties, for serious safety violations after conducting an inspection at another site in Lake Forest. During that inspection, Cal/OSHA found that the employer had exposed its workers to serious hazards while working in a trench more than 5 feet deep without properly sloping or installing any adequate protective systems.

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