OSHA Fines Two for Excavation Violations

January 11, 2013

OSHA has cited two contractors for excavation violations.

Tejas Underground Utilities, Magnolia, Texas, was cited with one willful and one serious violation for exposing workers to excavation hazards at its work site in Houston, Texas, and has proposed fines of $59,290.

A willful violation was cited for failing to provide workers replacing a damaged 12-inch storm line in an excavation with sloping, shoring or shielding to protect them from a possible cave-in. 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 serious violation was cited for having excavated materials within 2 feet from the edge of the excavation, material that can fall on workers. Additionally, the extra weight at the edge of an excavation could cause an unprotected excavation wall to collapse.

DeFelice Inc., Dracut, Mass., faces $55,660 in fines for violations at a Nashua, N.H. site.

OSHA inspectors observed a DeFelice employee working in an inadequately guarded excavation that was more than 8 feet deep. Also found was that the excavation lacked a ladder or other safe means of exit, and the workers in the excavation were not protected against being struck by material falling into the hole. Additionally, a damaged and uninspected steel-chain sling was used to lift and move materials, an employee working in the traffic zone lacked a reflective vest and employees at the site were not trained to recognize and address hazards.

Information on excavation hazards and safeguards is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.

Source: OSHA