Lack of Excavation Safety Training puts Workers at Risk
An investigation in July 2021 found a utility contractor in Montana exposed employees working in and around trenches to potentially deadly hazards.
OSHA determined the company failed to provide adequate protections from possible cave-in hazards for employees working in trenches, train its workers regarding excavation hazards, and have an experienced person monitor potential deadly workspaces regularly, as the law requires.
Because of the above-mentioned, the company faces five serious violations and one willful violation of workplace safety standards and penalties resulting in over $173k. The agency issued the willful citation because the employer failed to provide proper protective systems to protect their employees from cave-ins while working in trenches.
Despite widespread prevention efforts by the federal and state agencies, labor unions, employers and other industry stakeholders, trench collapses continue to be one of the leading causes of injury and deaths in the construction industry. OSHA has a wide range of resources to help reduce and prevent trenching hazards.
“Mountain Power Construction placed its employees at risk of death or serious physical harm by disregarding basic safety requirements and preventative measures. Without these necessary protections in place, a trench can become an early grave for workers. Ignoring OSHA standards is never an option and we have an obligation to hold employers accountable when they don’t.”
OSHA Area Director, Arthur Hazen – Billings, Montana
OSHA has made preventing trenching and excavation hazards an agency priority and provides vital information on hazards and necessary safeguards involving trenches and excavations.