OSHA fines Mississippi contractor for excavation violations

ConDig (14-Oct-19).  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined a Escatawpa, Mississippi-based contractor $161,771 for excavation and cave-in violations.

Graham Construction Co Inc was cited for exposing employees to trenching hazards after inspectors observed employees installing water lines in an unprotected excavation at a project in Ocean Springs.

The agency said that Graham Construction had failed to protect workers from cave-ins while inside a 7-foot-deep excavation, provide a safe means to enter and exit the trench and inspect the trench using a competent person. 

OSHA also cited the company for failing to ensure employees wore reflective clothing while exposed to vehicular traffic.

“In a matter of seconds, employees can be seriously or fatally injured when an excavation or trench collapses,” said OSHA Jackson area director Courtney Bohannon. 

“OSHA standards require protective systems be installed and inspected daily before work begins.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Commission.

OSHA recently updated the National Emphasis Program on preventing injuries related to trenching and excavation collapses, and developed a series of compliance assistance resources to help keep workers safe from these hazards.

Last month, OSHA fined Illinois-based masonry contractor Polo Masonry Builders $252,136 for exposing employees to fall and scaffolding hazards on a commercial building project in Chicago.

In August, OSHA fined a Florida-based roofing contractor $274,215  for exposing employees to fall and other safety hazards at two Florida construction sites in Lutz and Palmetto.

The agency said that it cited Brad McDonald Roofing & Construction Inc. following inspections at both worksites that found employees improperly using fall protection while performing roofing activities. 

In July, OSHA fined a St Louis-based contractor $212,158 for exposing employees to trench engulfment hazards as they installed concrete storm water pipes on a project in St Louis, Missouri.

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