OSHA Cites Wagner Companies Following Trench Fatality

Dec. 1, 2004
OSHA takes trenching dangers seriously, as witnessed by the $382,875 penalty the agency has proposed for hazards at the Trinity Park Project in western Pennsylvania.

OSHA cited Wagner Development Company Inc. and Wagner Excavation Services, Inc. following a fatality investigation. According to OSHA, the companies failed to protect workers from trenching hazards that led to the death of one employee and injury to a second worker at the storm sewer project.

OSHA cited the companies for a total of seven alleged willful violations for failing to provide cave-in protection to employees working at the Trinity Park Storm Water Project in North Franklin Township, Pa., on seven separate days last June. The agency identified an additional five alleged serious violations involving trench safety, personal protective equipment and overhead power lines.

"This tragic death could have been avoided. It strengthens our resolve to protect the health and safety of America's workers, as demonstrated by the significant penalty of $382,875 proposed in this case," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.

On June 29, 2004, OSHA learned of the death of one worker and the injury of another and began an investigation of a trench wall collapse at the Trinity Park Project site. The agency determined that on at least seven dates in June, the Wagner Companies had allowed unprotected employees to work in unshored, unsloped trenches in unstable soil, facing the risk of collapse.

The willful violations were issued because OSHA staff had specifically discussed trenching safety requirements with company owners and the foreman during an earlier inspection in February 2004. Further, the company had rented a trench box after an earlier trench collapse at the site that could have protected the workers, but it was lying unused nearby.

Proposed penalties for the seven alleged willful citations total $367,500, while proposed penalties for the five alleged serious violations total $15,375. A willful violation is defined as an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the OSHA law and regulations. A serious violation is issued when death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The Wagner Companies have 15 working days from receipt of the citations to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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.

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

DH Pace, national door and dock provider, reduces TRIR and claims with EHS solution

May 29, 2024
Find out how DH Pace moved from paper/email/excel to an EHS platform, changing their culture. They reduced TRIR from 4.8 to 1.46 and improved their ability to bid on and win contracts...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!