Chicago Area Company Cited For Safety Failures After Employee Injured in Trench Cave-In


Glencoe, IL ( - The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Goose Lake Construction Inc. after an employee suffered serious injuries when an unprotected trench collapsed, burying him up to his waist at a Glencoe, Illinois, worksite. OSHA proposed penalties of $233,377.

Inspectors determined that the company failed to follow required safety measures for employees working on residential storm sewers in a trench deeper than 5 feet. OSHA cited Goose Lake Construction Inc. for failing to provide a safe means of entry and exit from the trench, and install a trench box or other protective system to prevent trench walls from collapsing. The company also failed to place excavated material at least 2 feet from the trench’s edge, as required; ensure employees wore hard hats to protect from struck-by hazards; and train employees to recognize, avoid and control hazardous conditions associated with trenching and excavation work.

“This employee suffered serious injuries that could have been prevented if the employer complied with trenching and excavation standards,” said OSHA Des Plaines Area Director Angeline Loftus. “OSHA regulations and industry standards require employers to slope, shore, or shield trench walls in trenches to prevent collapses.”

In 2018, OSHA updated the National Emphasis Program on preventing injuries from trenching and excavation collapses, and developed a series of compliance assistance resources to help keep workers safe from these hazards. OSHA’s trenching and excavation webpage provides additional information on trenching hazards and solutions including a trenching operations QuickCard that provides information on protecting workers around trenches and OSHA’s “Protect Workers in Trenches” poster that provides a quick reminder of the three ways to prevent dangerous trench collapses. The poster is available in English and Spanish.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and 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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