OSHA fines Alabama contractor for cave-in violations

ConDig (03-Dec-19).  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined an Alabama sewer and water utilities contractor $34,476 following cave-in violations on a project in Opelika.

The agency said Ballard Construction Co. Inc had exposed employees to excavation hazards after a worker was injured and hospitalized following a trench collapse.

OSHA cited the company for allowing employees to work in an excavation that was improperly sloped; failing to install an adequate protective system, train employees on how to recognize and avoid unsafe work environments and provide a means of safe egress while working in a trench. 

The employee was installing gravity sewer systems for residential home lots in Opelika when the collapse occurred.

“Cave-in protection is required for trenches or excavations that are 5 feet deep or greater,” said OSHA Mobile area director Jose Gonzalez. 

“Employers are legally obligated to slope, shore or shield trench walls to prevent injuries such as this from occurring.”

OSHA recently updated the National Emphasis Program on preventing injuries related to trenching and excavation collapses.

Last month, OSHA fined a Missouri contractor $210,037 for failing to protect employees from trench collapse and electrical hazards.

OSHA also fined a south Florida contractor $185,239 for exposing employees to excavation and confined spaces hazards after a fatality at a project in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

OSHA fined two Florida roofing contractors a combined total of $83,348 for exposing employees to struck-by and fall hazards at a project in Greenacres, Florida, in October.

OSHA had fined a Escatawpa, Mississippi-based contractor $161,771 for excavation and cave-in violations also last month.

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