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OSHA Cites GA Contractor for Trenching Hazards

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

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A Dallas, Georgia-based utility contractor was recently cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for exposing employees to excavation hazards while completing work on water and sewer lines in Acworth, Georgia. The company faces $106,078 in penalties.

Trenching Fines

According to OSHA, Corley Contractors Inc., doing business as C&L Contractors, was completing the work in early October 2018. At the time, agency investigators saw employees working in a trench that did not have a safe way to exit and enter, and did not have a protective cave-in system.

1715d1db_3 / Getty Images

A Dallas, Georgia-based utility contractor was recently cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for exposing employees to excavation hazards while completing work on water and sewer lines in Acworth, Georgia. The company faces $106,078 in penalties.

OSHA cited the company with two willful violations, each totaling a penalty of $53,039. The trench in question was 10-14 feet deep, 171 feet long and 23 feet wide.

OSHA initiated the inspection as part of the agency’s National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation. The company only has the current citation within the last five years.

“In a matter of seconds, employees can be seriously or fatally injured when a trench collapses,” said OSHA Atlanta-West Acting Area Office Director Jeffery Stawowy. “Employers are required to slope, shore, or shield trench walls to protect workers from cave-ins.”

The company did not return calls for comment from West Georgia Neighbor.

In October, OSHA released an update to its National Emphasis Program on preventing trenching and excavation collapses. The update was in response to a recent uptick in trenching fatalities, the agency said at the time, and aimed to increase education and enforcement efforts, which include its inspectors recording trenching and excavation inspections in a national reporting system, and the development of outreach programs.

The DOL as a whole committed to reducing excavation and trenching hazards back in March 2018, when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released numbers that showed excavation and trenching fatalities in 2016 were nearly double the average of the previous two years combined.

   

Tagged categories: Department of Labor; Health & Safety; Health and safety; NA; North America; OSHA; OSHA; Safety

Comment from Michael Halliwell, (4/9/2019, 11:48 AM)

At 23' wide, I can understand why Corley might have have been fooled into thinking they were fine not to protect the trench...it was wider than 15' and wider than it was deep...but the length makes it more of a trench than a common excavation. Even if they want to call it an excavation (vs. a trench), the vertical side slopes at that sort of depth pose a very real hazard. Doesn't take much of a failure at 14' to seriously hurt or kill a worker.


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