OSHA cites Mississippi Contractor for Employee Exposure to Cave-in Hazards

Graham Construction Co. Inc. is facing fines and citations for exposing employees to trenching hazards after inspectors observed employees installing water lines in an unprotected excavation work site.

Last week, OSHA cited Mississippi-based company for failing to protect workers from a number of excavation hazards. Graham Construction Co. Inc. faces $161,771 in fines.

The company reportedly failed to protect workers from cave-ins while inside a 7-foot-deep excavation, provide a safe means to enter and exit the trench, and inspect the trench using a competent person. The company was also cited for failing to make sure employees wore reflective clothing while exposed to vehicular traffic.

“In a matter of seconds, employees can be seriously or fatally injured when an excavation or trench collapses,” said OSHA Jackson Area Director Courtney Bohannon. “OSHA standards require protective systems be installed and inspected daily before work begins.”

Unfortunately, trench- and excavation-related injuries are not uncommon. OSHA’s trenching and excavation webpage provides additional information on trenching hazards and solutions. The site also includes a trenching operations QuickCard, which provides information on protecting workers around trenches and, and OSHA’s “Protect Workers in Trenches” poster that serves as a reminder of how to prevent dangerous trench collapses—Shore it, Slope it, or Shield it. The poster is available in English and Spanish.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informational conference with OSHA’s area director,  or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Read the official OSHA news release on the citations here.  

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