In June 2016, OSHA investigators were notified of possible violations at a suburban NJ high school. Upon their initial inspection, contractors were found to be working in an unprotected 10-foot deep trench, which subsequently landed one of New York’s largest contractors in hot water. OSHA’s investigation found 9 violations including 1 willful violation against Landtek Group, Inc, who potentially face up to $198k in fines.
Landtek was cited for the alleged willful violation of exposing workers to cave-in hazards – the site did not have proper cave-in protections or safeguards in place. OSHA also found Landtek to have failed to prevent employee exposure to falls, provide mechanical retrieval equipment in the case of an emergency, have a competent person inspect the excavation, and to properly train employees on safely performing job duties and the hazards associated with them.
Related Course: 8-Hour Confined Space Entry/Attendant/Supervisor Training
OSHA remains to proactively enforce excavation violations and other confined space violations. TSCTA has previously reported on just how dangerous working in trenches can be; resulting in deaths that could have easily been prevented with proper training. When working in trenches make sure to keep these general excavation rules from OSHA in mind:
- Keep heavy equipment away from trench edges.
- Keep surcharge loads at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) from trench edges.
- Know where underground utilities are located.
- Test for low oxygen, hazardous fumes and toxic gases.
- Inspect trenches at the start of each shift.
- Inspect trenches following a rainstorm.
- Do not work under raised loads.
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Via EHS Today