BOISE, Idaho -- Every month, somewhere in the U.S., two people die in trench cave-ins — buried or crushed by the tremendous weight of falling earth. In fact, one cubic yard of soil can be equal to the weight of a small automobile, about 3,000 pounds. These needless deaths can be prevented with proper cave-in protections.
Despite these realities, some contractors continue to ignore the serious dangers of unprotected trenches and allow employees to work below ground level at great risk.
In Boise, U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health inspectors found a local contractor, Titan Technologies Inc., putting its workers at risk of serious and fatal injury while they marked a sewer line location on East 45th Street. This is the third time — in three years — that the company has been cited for the same safety violation. Titan committed similar violations at other work sites in 2012 and 2014.
OSHA investigators were completing another inspection nearby when they at Titan job site. Employees were found working in trenches without cave-in protections, such as sloping, benching or other engineering controls. For its actions, Titan Technologies faces proposed OSHA fines of $22,000 for repeated serious violations and $2,200 for serious violations.
'We are very fortunate to have found these hazards before workers were badly hurt or killed,' said David Kearns, area director of OSHA's Boise office. 'When it comes to trench safety cave-in protection is critical to protecting lives.'
For more information on trench safety, click here*.
Titan Technologies has 15 days to appeal the proposed violations. If the company does not contest the penalties, it must pay the fines within 15 days and submit abatement certifications 10 days after correcting each violation. Here's the citation: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/1020565TitanTechnologies.pdf*
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.