The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined Cross Construction Inc. $75,460 for multiple safety violations. According to an OSHA regional news release, after receiving a tip about an alleged cave-in hazard, OSHA initiated an inspection of a Cross Construction site in Danville, Illinois. During the inspection, OSHA found three safety violations, all related to failing to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations that involved installing sewer pipes and manholes.
The three safety violations included two repeat violations and one willful violation, which is a violation that involves an intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the requirements of the law. The repeat violations were for failing to provide a means of safe access and egress during trenching and excavation work and for failing to conduct daily inspections of the excavation site to identify and correct hazards. The willful violation was for failing to provide cave-in protection to workers in a trench greater than seven feet deep—OSHA requires that cave-in protection be provided for all excavations five feet and deeper.
“Cave-ins are the leading cause of injury and death in excavation,” said Tom Bielema, OSHA area director in Peoria. “Repeat violations of a well-known safety hazard in the trenching industry demonstrate a disregard for workers’ safety by Cross Construction.”
Cross Construction’s violations were deemed so serious by OSHA that it has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). OSHA’s SVEP is reserved for employers that commit willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. The program mandates targeted follow-up inspections and allows OSHA to inspect any of the employer’s facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.
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