OSHA Cites Missouri Contract For Trench Engulfment Hazards

R.V. Wagner Inc. is facing $212,158 in penalties for failing to use trench protection techniques, failing to provide a safe exit and other serious violations.

OSHA has cited a Missouri contractor for exposing employees to trench engulfment hazards while workers were installing concrete storm water pipes in St. Louis, the U.S. Department of Labor announced on July 16.

R.V. Wagner Inc., based in Affton, Missouri, is facing penalties of $212,158 for two willful violations: failing to use a trench box or other trench protection techniques in an excavation greater than five feet in depth and for failing to provide a safe means to exit the excavation.

Engulfment can cause physical harm when a substance – which could include soil, sand or gravel – has enough force on the body to cause injury or death by constriction, crushing or strangulation, according to the State Fund, the largest provider of workers’ compensation insurance in California.

“Employers must ensure that employees enter trenches only after adequate protections are in place to address cave-in hazards,” Bill McDonald, the St. Louis OSHA director, said in a statement. “A trench collapse can happen in just seconds, potentially burying employees under thousands of pounds of soil and causing severe injury.”

R.V. Wagner was also cited for three other serious violations: allowing soil and other excavated material within two feet of an open trench; exposing employees to struck-by hazards by allowing employees to work near and under lift loads without hard hats; and failing to ensure daily inspections of worksites by a competent person.

Companies have 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, contest the findings or request an informal conference with the area director.

The agency recently updated its National Emphasis Program on preventing trenching and excavation collapses, adding a series of resources to help keep workers safe from the hazards.

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