DKS Structural Services Inc., doing business as Don Kennedy and Sons House Moving Co., has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for four trenching violations, with penalties of $122,400.
Two willful violations involve failing to provide a safe means of entrance and exit from an excavation and not providing cave-in protection for employees working in a trench that was 15 feet deep. 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. The citations carry $112,000 in penalties.
Two serious violations involve exposing employees to fall and crushing hazards by allowing them to stand in a backhoe bucket as a means to lower and raise them in the excavation, as well as exposing workers to “struck-by” hazards from loose soil, rocks and equipment by not having them wear head protection. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. The citations carry $10,400 in proposed penalties.
“This employer knowingly put workers at risk of serious injury or death by ordering them back to work in an unprotected trench after experiencing a cave-in,” said Lisa Strunk, OSHA’s acting area director in Birmingham. “Risking the safety of workers is not an acceptable business decision.”
OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available on OSHA’s website at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
The citations in this case can be viewed at https://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/DKS_Structural_Services_316228519_0711_12.pdf.