worker buried in trenching incident

OSHA Fines First Dakota Enterprises After Trench Collapse

Aug. 28, 2017
Agency cites construction company after worker is completely buried at a worksite.

A Fort Pierre, S.D. company faces $95,064 in penalties after failing to use a trench protective system.

On May 23, a 34-year-old First Dakota Enterprises Inc. worker was completely buried when the walls of a 14-foot trench collapsed around him. Other workers were able to free the victim’s head, allowing a emergency response team to work more than 30 minutes to rescue the employee.

“Trench collapses are preventable,” said OSHA Area Director Sheila Stanley in Sioux Falls, S.D. in a statement. “It is critical that employers involved in excavation work review their safety procedures to ensure that employees are properly protected and trained. Had it not been for the heroic actions of these co-workers, this dangerous collapse may have ended in tragedy.”

Agency investigators discovered the company was not using a trench protective system or conducting regular site inspections. In total, First Dakota Enterprises Inc. was cited for two repeat and one serious safety violations.

Trenching standards require protective systems on trenches deeper than 5 feet, and soil and other materials kept at least 2 feet from the edge of a trench, according to OSHA.

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