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Company fined for failing to protect workers from trench collapse

Those who supply contracting services for residential and commercial properties often face a variety of hazardous working conditions. Employers are expected to maintain a certain level of safety — regardless of the project — in order to ensure that workers are protected from harm, such as a potentially fatal trench collapse. Unfortunately, many Missouri workers have suffered serious work accidents when their employers failed to meet required standards.

Officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently fined a contracting company for failing to ensure the safety of its workers who were installing piping for a sewer system in a residential development. According to inspectors, two men were working in a 17-foot trench when one of the sidewalls collapsed. Only one worker was able to escape to safety; the second worker was killed.

The excavating company is facing fines of $66,000. OSHA officials determined that the company failed to have the worksite inspected and properly analyzed by an experienced professional in order to dig the trench in the manner that best suited the terrain and soil conditions. It also failed to provide proper support structures to guard against a fatal collapse. This is the second time this company has been fined for a violation related to the construction of a trench.

It remains to be seen whether the company plans to contest OSHA’s findings. Missouri workers who have been injured in a trench collapse or other serious work-related accident may require an extended time off work in order to recover, which can create significant financial difficulties. Victims are entitled to seek maximum benefits from the state’s workers compensation in order to make ends meet until they can return to work, while surviving families of workers who have lost their lives in these tragic circumstances may be entitled to death benefits. An experienced attorney can provide guidance and ongoing support regarding the entire claims process.