Superman Corp. Hit with $73,219 in OSHA Penalties for Trenching Hazards

Superman Corp. Hit with $73,219 in OSHA Penalties for Trenching Hazards

The construction company’s president faces a willful violation citation.

Superman Corp.—a Tamuning, Guam-based company that specializes in multi-family residential construction projects—is now in the crosshairs of OSHA after recurrent safety violations were identified at a worksite in Mangilao, Guam.

In a release dated Sept. 14, OSHA announced it found two serious lapses in Superman Corp.'s safety protocols during its May 2023 inspection. The company failed to provide an adequate means for workers to enter and exit the trench within 25 feet and proper testing of oxygen levels in the trench before employees commenced work.

Allen Kim, president of Superman Corp., also received a willful violation citation. Despite being trained in trenching safety and receiving warnings about site hazards from peers and engineers, Kim neglected to ensure mandatory cave-in protection for workers in the trench. Notably, Kim conceded to safety officers he recognized the dangers posed by nearby motorized equipment, including falling debris and the heightened collapse risk due to equipment vibrations.

As a result of these oversights, the company faces proposed penalties amounting to $73,219. OSHA standards mandate protective systems for trenches deeper than 5 feet. These trenches must undergo inspections by trained individuals and feature safe entry and exit points for workers.

“Working in a trench is demanding and dangerous work that requires specific precautions and protections to keep workers safe,” OSHA Area Office Director Roger Forstner in Honolulu said in a statement. “By running soil compactors and excavators within 20 feet of workers in the trench and failing to provide accessible ladders, Superman Corp. chose to put production before safety, endangering the lives of its employees.”

Superman Corp. now has 15 business days to address the citations and penalties, arrange an informal discussion with OSHA’s director or challenge OSHA’s findings.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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