Opelika, AL (WorkersCompensation.com) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Ballard Construction Co. Inc. – a sewer and water utilities contractor based in Kellyton, Alabama – for exposing employees to excavation hazards after a worker was injured and hospitalized following a trench collapse. The contractor faces $34,476 in penalties.
The employee was installing gravity sewer systems for residential home lots in Opelika, Alabama, when the collapse occurred. OSHA cited the company for allowing employees to work in an excavation that was improperly sloped; and failing to install an adequate protective system, train employees on how to recognize and avoid unsafe work environments, and provide a means of safe egress while working in a trench.
“Cave-in protection is required for trenches or excavations that are 5 feet deep or greater,” said OSHA Mobile Area Director Jose Gonzalez. “Employers are legally obligated to slope, shore or shield trench walls to prevent injuries such as this from occurring.”
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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