K&D Plumbing Fined in Worker Fatality

Jan. 31, 2024
OSHA levies $187,387 in fines.
osha

K&D Plumbing has been fined $187,387 for six violations in the death of an employee who fell into an confined area and was exposed to a high atmospheric concentration of hydrogen sulfide gas. The fine was levied by the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA).

According to OSHA, the employee was working on a sewer line replacement project in Rome, Georgia. He entered a manhole near the end of a 60-foot trench and subsequently fell 20 feet. He died as a result of the fall and the exposure to the gas. The Rome Fire Department tested the air and discovered hydrogen sulfide concentration of 1,910 ppm. OSHA said permissible exposure limit is 20 ppm. It cited the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which said 100 ppm is considered “immediately dangerous to life or health.”

Read also: 8 trenching safety tips

OSHA cited K&D for willfully failing to develop and implement a permit-required confined space entry program, including testing and ventilating the space, before allowing employees to enter a manhole. The agency also cited K&D with six serious violations for not providing ladders or other safe means of egress from the 6-foot-deep trench and protections or controls for water accumulation inside the trench.

In addition, the employer failed to have a competent person inspect the trench prior to workers entering and for not ensuring excavated soil and uninstalled piping were stored at least 2 feet from the trench edge, preventing them from rolling back inside the trench and striking workers.

Source: OSHA