Construction Co to Dig Deep for Trenching Hazards

Source: Kitz Corner - 123RF

Cited for exposing workers to trenching hazards, Missouri-based RV Wagner, Inc is going to have to pay heavy penalties for two willful violations.

OSHA found that the construction company’s workers were not protected by a trench box while installing concrete water pipes, exposing them to engulfment hazards.

According to OSHA, a trench collapse can happen in just seconds, potentially burying employees under thousands of pounds of soil and causing severe injury.

According to the agency, R.V. Wagner Inc. failed to use a trench box or other trench protection techniques in an excavation greater than 5 ft. in depth and to provide a safe means to exit the excavation.

The company has to pay a proposed $212,158 for violations of its trench safety standards.

R.V. Wagner also received three serious violations for:

  • Allowing soil and other excavated material within 2 ft. of an open trench;
  • Failing to ensure daily inspections of worksites by a competent person; and
  • Exposing employees to struck-by hazards by allowing employees to work near and under lifted loads without hard hats.

OSHA states that cave-ins pose the greatest risk and are much more likely than other excavation related accidents to result in worker fatalities.

Other potential hazards include falls, falling loads, hazardous atmospheres, and incidents involving mobile equipment.

Trench collapses cause dozens of fatalities and hundreds of injuries each year.