OSHA continues to cite employers that expose workers to trenching hazards, driving home its National Emphasis Program.
Affton, Mo.-based R.V. Wagner Inc. recently received two willful violations after it workers installing concrete were not protected by a trench box while installing concrete water pipes, exposing them to engulfment hazards.
“Employers must ensure that employees enter trenches only after adequate protections are in place to address cave-in hazards,” said OSHA St. Louis Area Director Bill McDonald, in a statement. “A trench collapse can happen in just seconds, potentially burying employees under thousands of pounds of soil and causing severe injury.”
According to the agency, R.V. Wagner Inc. failed to use a trench box or other trench protection techniques in an excavation greater than 5 ft. in depth and to provide a safe means to exit the excavation. The company has to pay a proposed $212,158 for violations of its trench safety standards.
R.V. Wagner also received three serious violations for allowing soil and other excavated material within 2 ft. of an open trench, failing to ensure daily inspections of worksites by a competent person, and exposing employees to struck-by hazards by allowing employees to work near and under lifted loads without hard hats.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.