Unsafe work in the trenching and excavation industry is becoming an epidemic.
The United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed a $106,000 penalty on a construction company for allegedly putting its workers in danger.
In May of this year, Alta Construction, Inc. of Boise, Idaho was inspected by the agency following two separate complaints of unsafe trenching practices. Last week, OSHA announced it cited the employer with one willful and two serious safety violations related to safe trenching practices.
According to OSHA, no one was injured in connection to the finding. OSHA inspectors said they found workers inside a 7-foot deep trench with no safety protections in place to shield workers from a trench collapse. OSHA also alleges there was no safe method in place to get out of the trench.
Workers with Alta Construction were hired to work on a $65 million development that covers five acres in downtown Boise, Idaho.
Unsafe work in the trenching and excavation industry is becoming an epidemic. In each of the two 2014 and 2015 calendar years, there were 11 nationwide fatalities attributed to trench collapses.
In 2016, there were 23 fatalities associated with trench collapses. In the first five months of 2017, there were 15 fatalities nationwide from trench collapses, so we are on pace to surpass 30 fatalities this year, according to OSHA.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Robert Box is the owner of Safety First Consulting and is a contributor of SM Corridor News. Box helps businesses identify OSHA compliance issues in their workplaces, manage their safety programs and become accountable for the results. In addition to offering custom written safety programs for companies, Safety First Consulting provides required safety training, industrial hygiene sampling, noise sampling and workplace inspections. You can read more from Robert Box under Business.