Contractor Cited for Cave-In Hazards at Water Main Site

December 10, 2014

Two workers installing a water main at Golf Road and Sayre Avenue in Morton Grove, Ill., were exposed to cave-in hazards, according to OSHA. An OSHA investigation found A. Lamp Concrete Contractors Inc. responsible for one willful violation because it failed to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations. The proposed penalty totals $69,300.

"Fatalities and injuries result from trenching hazards, so companies specializing in this work must protect their workers," said Angie Loftus, OSHA's area director for its Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines, Ill. "OSHA implemented a trenching and excavation national emphasis program in the 1980s. A. Lamp Concrete Contractors should be aware of the safety regulations for trenching operations."

OSHA initiated the inspection on June 4, 2014, under its National Emphasis Program for Trenching and Excavation. An inspector witnessed employees working in a trench more than 8 feet deep without cave-in protection.

OSHA trenching standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse.

A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

A. Lamp Concrete Contractors was previously cited in 2010 and 2008 for trenching violations.

The company, based in Schaumburg, Ill., has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.