Fatal Trench Collapse in Mississippi

Source: Tracy Fox - 123RF

OSHA has cited Rhobina Electric Inc. – a commercial electrical and plumbing contractor based in Batesville, Mississippi – for exposing employees to excavation hazards after a worker suffered fatal injuries in a trench collapse at a Taylor, Mississippi, worksite.

The contractor faces $37,318 in penalties.

The employee was installing a sewer pipe to a new concrete manhole when the collapse occurred. OSHA cited the company for allowing employees to work in a trench without hard hats and cave-in protection, and for not removing workers from a trench that showed signs of water intrusion and possible collapse.

OSHA also cited the contractor for failing to meet the reporting requirement, which mandates that employers notify OSHA within eight hours of any incident involving an employee fatality.

OSHA Area Director, Courtney Bohannon, in Jackson, Mississippi, said, “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. Bohannon added: “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.

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