OSHA Cites IL Contractor for Recurring Trenching Violations

Cross Construction Inc. is cited for three safety violations including two repeat for failing to protect from cave-ins and is facing $75,460 in proposed penalties

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Cross Construction Inc. has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for three safety violations, including two repeat, for failing to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations that involved installing sewer pipes and manholes at a jobsite in Danville, Ill. OSHA initiated an inspection of the Urbana-based company on May 1 after receiving a complaint that alleged cave-in hazards. OSHA has proposed $75,460 in penalties.

OSHA: Safe Work Practices for Excavation and Trenching

Two repeat violations were cited for failing to provide a means of safe access and egress during trenching and excavation work and to conduct daily inspections of the excavation site to identify and correct hazards. OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer previously was cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The same violation was cited December 2012 at a jobsite in Mahomet.

Safety Video: Excavations in Construction/Trenching

One willful violation was cited for failing to provide cave-in protection to workers in a trench greater than 7 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.

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

As a result of exposing workers to cave-in hazards, OSHA has placed Urbana-based Cross Construction in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. OSHA's SVEP focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.

The company 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.