OSHA Fines “Severe Violator” $140,000

January 7, 2016

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined Susquehanna Supply Co. $140,000 for a July 2015 trench collapse that killed an employee.

OSHA named the bridge repair company a “severe violator” and cited it for willful violations at a site in Millville, Pa. The company was rehabilitating a small steel-frame bridge over the Little Fishing Creek.

OSHA investigators determined the employee was working inside a trench, approximately 12-15 feet deep, on the outside of the bridge abutment when the adjacent trench wall collapsed and he became buried in soil. The worker was in the trench shoveling soil off the base of the abutment wall because it was not reachable by an excavator.

Susquehanna Supply was placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program due to the willful violations cited for lack of cave-in protection. The company has an extensive OSHA history of violations dating back to the early 1970s, according to OSHA.

“Susquehanna Supply Co. took unacceptable risks with its workers' lives by failing to comply with common-sense safety practices intended to prevent trenching tragedies such as this from occurring,” said Mark Stelmack, director of OSHA’s Wilkes-Barre office. “Employers who expose workers to cave-in hazards from an unprotected trench place those employees' lives in immediate jeopardy. This will not be tolerated.”

Source: OSHA