On April 27, a Bay Construction Co. worker was compacting dirt inside a trench box for an underground pump station in Oakland, Calif.
Another employee was using an excavator with a four-hook bridle sling to remove the shoring system’s 5,000-pound linear rails. As the crew began to complete the underground work, a linear support rail fell and fatally crushed the worker inside the trench.
Cal/OSHA immediately opened an investigation into the incident and found Bay Construction Co. committed willful-serious safety violations that led to the worker's death.
“Shield systems are designed to protect employees from cave-ins when working in an excavation,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum, in a statement. “Employers must ensure that no one is inside of the excavation when the protective system is being installed or removed.”
Investigators found the hooks used for the sling were not adequate for the operation. The agency issued nine citation to the company, a total of $141, 075 in proposed penalties, including five classified as general, two serious, one serious accident-related and one willful-serious accident-related
The willful-serious accident-related citation was issued for failing to ensure that no employees were in the trench shield while it was being dismantled. The serious accident-related citation was issued for the employer’s failure to use adequate hooks to remove the heavy linear rails. The citations for serious violations were issued for failing to conduct daily inspections of the excavation site to identify any potential hazards and failure to implement multiple sections of the employer’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program, which includes training and instruction to employees working in excavations.