The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Etna Construction Inc., based in Warminster, Pennsylvania, for exposing employees to excavation hazards at a worksite in Philadelphia. The company faces $208,560 in penalties.
OSHA determined that the company failed to install protective systems inside the excavation area, provide a safe means of exit from the excavation area, correct excavation deficiencies and instruct employees on recognizing excavation hazards. The employer also failed to ensure employees wore hardhats to prevent head injuries and did not properly guard protruding reinforced steel, OSHA says.
“Employees can be seriously or fatally injured in a matter of seconds when a trench collapses,” said OSHA Philadelphia Area Office Director Theresa Downs in a news release. “Trench-related injuries are preventable when employees are trained properly and the required protections are in place.”
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.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for American working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit its website.OSHA has construction hazard prevention videos on trenching and soil classification.