OSHA Cites Schenectady Contractor Following Fatal Cave-In

April 19, 2004
A fatal cave-in at a Colonie, N.Y., jobsite has resulted in citations and $17,100 in OSHA fines against the deceased worker's employer, JRP Enterprises Inc., Schenectady, N.Y.

The company, which has accepted the citations and agreed to correct all hazards, was cited for three serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following an OSHA inspection initiated after a Nov. 25, 2003, cave-in. On that day, a JRP employee was killed when he was caught and buried in the collapse of an 11-foot-deep excavation.

OSHA's inspection found that the excavation lacked protective systems designed to prevent its collapse. In addition, JRP did not have a competent person on site with the knowledge and authority to identify and correct trenching hazards and the company also failed to properly train employees to recognize trenching hazards.

"OSHA standards require that all trenches 5 feet or deeper must be protected against collapse," said John Tomich, OSHA's Albany area director. "Trenches can collapse suddenly and with great force, burying workers beneath tons of soil before they have a chance to escape. A combination of effective collapse protection, worker training and the presence of a competent person on site would help prevent accidents such as this one."

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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