Worker Dies in Illinois Trench Collapse, OSHA Cites Company
The company faces a citation for one willful and one serious violation and $35,940 in proposed penalties.
- By Alex Saurman
- Jun 13, 2023
An Illinois plumbing contracting business was cited following the death of a 27-year-old worker.
According to a news release, two employees were in a seven-foot-deep trench at a worksite in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, when it collapsed. Although one of the workers escaped and suffered no injuries during the December 2022 incident, the second was fatally crushed.
"Trench collapses are one of the construction industry's most deadly hazards. Soil can shift suddenly and bury a person under thousands of pounds of dirt and rocks," said OSHA Chicago North Area Director Sukhvir Kaur in Arlington Heights, Illinois, in the news release.
After OSHA discovered that Rooter Solutions Inc. neither had cave-in protection in the trench nor made sure workers were using head protection, the agency cited the business for one willful and one serious violation. Rooter Solutions Inc. now faces $35,940 in proposed penalties.
From 2011 to 2018, 166 workers—or about 21 workers every year—lost their lives from trench collapses, per OSHA, but 2022’s fatalities were almost double that average. "This worker's death was one of 39 caused by fatal injuries in trench collapses in 2022,” Kaur added.
Alex Saurman is a former Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety,who has since joined OH&S’s client services team. She continues to work closely with OH&S’s editorial team and contributes to the magazine.