A man was seriously injured May 7 when the walls of the grave in which he was working collapsed, burying him to his waist.
The man, an employee of St. Charles/Resurrection Cemeteries in Farmingdale, New York, was working for St. John Cemetery Corp., which owns and operates five cemeteries in the greater New York City area.
The excavation and its support systems did not have adequate protection against cave-ins and had not been inspected to find such failings, according to an inspection by the Long Island Area Office of OSHA.
The site also had damaged equipment and excavated soil on the edge of the unprotected trench, both of which exposed employees to the dangers of a cave-in, engulfment and struck-by injuries, OSHA said.
“This worker literally came close to an early grave because the cemetery failed to provide proper excavation protections. This cave-in could have been prevented if proper and legally required trenching safety procedures had been followed by the employer,” said Anthony Ciuffo, OSHA’s Long Island area director.
“It is imperative that St. John Cemetery Corp. ensure that workers at all its cemeteries are protected against cave-in hazards and ensure that an incident such as this does not happen again in the future.”
OSHA on Nov. 5 cited the company for two willful and three serious violations of workplace safety standards and proposed fees of $123,200.