OSHA finds that Fort Jackson contractor allowed employees to work in an unprotected trench
Employer name: DS Utilities Inc.
Inspection site: At the time of the inspection, workers were installing sewer lines at the intersection of Lee and Washington Roads, Fort Jackson, South Carolina 29207.
Date inspection initiated: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiated the January 2015 inspection as part of the agency's National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation.
Inspection findings: OSHA issued the employer one willful citation for allowing employees to work in a 9.5 foot deep excavation without cave-in protection. OSHA requires that all trenches and excavation sites 5-feet or deeper be protected against sidewall collapses. Protection may be provided through shoring of trench walls, sloping of the soil at a shallow angle or by using a protective trench box. Additionally, three serious violations were issued for failing to provide a safe entrance and exit from the trench, allowing workers to operate an excavator too close to the opening of the trench and exposing workers to tripping and fall hazards from an open hole.
Quote: "It only takes seconds for an unprotected trench or excavation to collapse and put workers at risk of serious injury or death," said Darlene Fossum, OSHA's area director in Columbia. "There is no justification for an employer to risk the safety of its workers."
Proposed penalties: $68,600
The citations can be viewed at: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/osha/OSHA20150882fs.pdf
DS Utilities has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Columbia Area Office at 803-765-5904.