OSHA officials cited DHC Contracting of Statesboro, Ga., for allowing employees to work in an excavation without cave-in protection.
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DHC was installing a replacement manhole in October at the South Effingham Waste Water Effluent Pump Station in Guyton, Ga., when OSHA inspectors observed an unprotected trench that could collapse and trap workers.
"Employer James Marlowe was at the work site watching his employees work in an unprotected excavation and recognized the hazardous condition that existed, but didn't take action to protect them from being engulfed and crushed by a wall collapse," said Robert Vazzi, OSHA area director in Savannah. "For an employer to knowingly disregard the lives of their workers is unconscionable."
The proposed penalties total $57,900. The inspection that day was part of the agency's National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation.