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OSHA Cites Alabama Utilities Contractor for Exposing Employees to Excavation Hazards

December 3, 2019

Source: Zhao jiankang/Adobe Stock

OPELIKA, AL – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited a sewer and water utilities contractor based in Kellyton, Alabama, for exposing employees to excavation hazards following a trench collapse where a worker was injured and hospitalized. Ballard Construction Co. Inc. is facing $34,476 in penalties.

According to a U.S Department of Labor press release, the employee was installing gravity sewer systems for residential home lots in Opelika, Alabama, when the trench collapse occurred.

The company is being cited by OSHA for:

  • Allowing employees to work in an excavation that was improperly sloped;
  • Failing to install an adequate protective system;
  • Failing to provide adequate training to employees on how to recognize and avoid unsafe work environments; and
  • Failing to provide a means of safe egress while working in a trench.

According to OSHA, cave-in protection is required for trenches or excavations that are 5 feet deep or greater. Employers are legally obligated to slope, shore or shield trench walls in order to safeguard employees from the many hazards of trenching operations.

Ballard Construction Co. Inc. has 15 days to appeal against these citations and penalties.

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