The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined Rhobina Electric $37,318 after a trench collapsed and killed a worker at a Taylor, Mississippi, job site.
Rhobina, based in Batesville, Mississippi, is a commercial and plumbing contractor. The worker had been installing sewer pipe to a new concrete manhole when the trench collapsed. OSHA cited the contractor for allowing the worker in a trench without a hard hat or cave-in protection. It also cited the company for not removing workers when the trench showed signs of water intrusion and possible collapse.
“This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had followed the law and sloped, shored, or shielded the trench walls to prevent a collapse,” said OSHA area director Courtney Bohannon in a prepared statement. “Before allowing workers to enter a trench, employers are required to install proper safety measures.”
OSHA recently updated the National Emphasis Program on preventing injuries related to trenching and excavation collapses. OSHA’s trenching and excavation webpage provides additional information on trenching hazards and solutions, including a trenching operations QuickCard, and a “Protect Workers in Trenches” poster.
Rhobina has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.