Construction Company Fined by OSHA for Cave-In Hazards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Mt. Pleasant Blacktopping Inc. for several safety violations, after the company exposed its workers to cave-in hazards.
Is Working in a Trench Dangerous?
Employees working in trenches and on other excavation projects can be seriously injured during falls or cave-ins. Falls can cause broken bones and serious brain injuries, while workers can be smothered or crushed during a cave-in.
OSHA requires management to provide cave-in protection in any trench deeper than five feet. Ladders or stairs can provide an easy escape route, and angling walls of dirt away from a trench helps prevent cave-ins.
On April 27, OSHA inspectors discovered that Mt. Pleasant employees were working without cave-in protection at three separate work sites. The company has been cited for inadequate cave-in protections several times in the past year at multiple work sites.
The company also failed to implement an adequate safety program and neglected to teach its workers about safe excavation and trenching. In the event of an emergency, workers would have no idea what to do.
What Is a Willful Violation?
Mt. Pleasant received at least one willful violation of safety procedures, meaning the company intentionally disregarded the law’s requirements. Willful violations are more serious than other offenses, because they show a consistent pattern of putting workers in danger.
By refusing to provide the proper protections and training, the construction company made a conscious decision to put business priorities above its workers’ health. If a worker is injured or killed as a result of the company’s negligence, it could be held liable for his or her death.
Every employer has a responsibility to provide workers with the equipment and knowledge they need to perform their job safely. When they fail to honor those obligations, they violate the rights of every employee on their payroll.
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[Did You Know: Excavation cave-ins cause 75 deaths and more than 130 permanent disabilities every year.]
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC—Columbus Workers Comp Attorneys