On Saturday, April 6, firefighters recovered the body of 43-year-old Dalbert Burton at a residential construction site in Sugarcreek Twp., Ohio.
The Payne Enterprises Inc. employee had been working in a deep trench at a home under construction when a deep trench collapsed.
OSHA immediately launched an investigation into the incident, discovering multiple safety violations. The agency now has fined the company $145,860 as a result.
“Tragedies such as this are preventable when employers comply with safety standards that exist to protect workers from trenching hazards,” said OSHA Area Director Ken Montgomery, in Cincinnati, Ohio. “OSHA regulations require employers to slope, shore, or shield trench walls to prevent cave-ins.”
Dayton, Ohio-based Payne Enterprises is no stranger to OSHA. The agency previously cited the company in 2017, 2018 and in January.
The most recent investigations which occurred between April 7, 2019 and July 19, 2019 found Payne has repeatedly exposed workers to multiple trenching and excavation hazards. Payne received two repeated violations for not having a competent individual inspect the trench before allowing employees to enter and for failing to install an adequate protective system to prevent the trench collapse.
As a result of Payne's repeated violations, OSHA has placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
The company has 15 business days from July 26 to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.