The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Ballard Construction Co. Inc., a sewer and water utilities contractor, for exposing employees to excavation hazards after a worker was injured and hospitalized following a trench collapse. The contractor faces $34,376 in penalties.
According to the press release, the employee was installing gravity sewer systems for residential home lots in Opelika, Alabama, when the collapse occurred. OSHA cited the company for allowing employees to work in an excavation that was improperly sloped, and failing to install an adequate protective system.
“Cave-in protection is required for trenches or excavations that are 5 feet deep or greater,” said OSHA Mobile Area Director Jose Gonzalez. “Employers are legally obligated to slope, shore or shield trench walls to prevent injuries such as this from occurring.”