MO Contractor Cited for Four Violations After Worker Fatally Injured Following Trench Collapse

MO Contractor Cited for Four Violations After Worker Fatally Injured Following Trench Collapse

In the first six months of 2022, trench-related deaths were higher than in the year 2021.

A contractor in Missouri is facing violations after a worker was fatally injured following a trench collapse.

In April 2022, workers were on a project in Dudley, Missouri, in an 8-foot-deep, 80-feet-long trench. One worker, a pipelayer, was in the trench when it collapsed and was fatally injury, according to a news release.

OSHA discovered that a trench box was not used nor were the walls sloped or shored. The agency also found that workers did not have a way to exit the trench and were not trained on “excavation hazards,” and daily inspections were not performed by a “competent person,” the news release said. The contractor, Brown Construction Co. Inc., was issued four serious violations and $58,008 in proposed penalties.

"A collapse takes just seconds and often ends a life forever," explained U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration Area Director Bill McDonald in St. Louis in the news release. "Employers are legally responsible for following required safety measures and training workers so they recognize hazards and potentially hazardous situations. Sadly, tragedy has struck again for a worker trapped in a trench, and their family, friends and co-workers are left to grieve."

In July, OSHA announced an increase in oversight and enhanced enforcement after it found that trench-related deaths were on the rise. OSHA reported that 22 workers died from trench hazards in the first six months of 2022. In 2021, only 15 workers died the entire year from these hazards.

Photo credit: BY-_-BY /

About the Author

Alex Saurman is the Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

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