Occupational Safety & Health Administration

Contractor Faces Over $67,000 in Fines for Trench Hazards

Feutz Contractors Inc. has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for four safety violations, including one willful, for failing to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations at a construction site in Mahomet, Ill. The inspection was initiated under OSHA's national emphasis program for trenching and excavation after a complaint on April 26 alleged cave-in hazards at the site. Proposed penalties total $67,760.

OSHA: Safe Work Practices for Excavation and Trenching

The willful violation involves failing to provide cave-in protection to workers installing sewer pipes and a manhole in a trench approximately 6 feet deep. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Additionally, three serious violations were cited for failing to provide a means of safe access and egress during trenching and excavation work, keep excavated material away from the edge of the trench and to conduct daily inspections of the excavation site to identify and correct hazards. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Safety Video: Excavations in Construction/Trenching

OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.

Trenching and Excavation Safety Fact Sheet

OSHA Trench Safety QuickCard

The company has been inspected by OSHA five times since 2003.

Feutz Contractors Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.