BROADVIEW, IL ‒ Federal safety investigators found a Schaumburg excavating contractor has again failed to follow federally mandated safety measures to protect workers from potentially deadly trenches cave-ins.
Trench collapses are among the construction industry’s most lethal hazards. In the first six months of 2022, OSHA reports 22 workers suffered fatal injuries in trenching and excavation work.
On June 30, 2022, a U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspector observed two employees of A. Lamp Concrete Contractors Inc. in a 7-foot-deep trench in Broadview working on municipal sewer and water lines without adequate cave-in protection or safe ways to get in and out of the trench.
Following its investigation, OSHA cited the company for three repeat, one serious and one other-than-serious violations of federal trenching and excavation standards, and proposed penalties of $118,962. The agency cited A. Lamp Concrete in 2018 and 2021 for exposing workers to cave-in hazards.
“In mere seconds, thousands of pounds of soil can trap a worker in a trench collapse and lead to serious and often fatal injuries,” explained U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration Chicago North Area Director Angeline Loftus in Arlington Heights, Illinois. “Our inspector found that a company foreman was supervising the work of two employees in the unprotected trench, which demonstrates the company’s lack of concern for federal regulations, industry-recognized best practices and its legal responsibility to protect workers on the job.”
OSHA has a national emphasis program on trenching and excavations. Trenching standards require protective systems on trenches deeper than 5 feet, and soil and other materials kept at least 2 feet from the edge of a trench. Additionally, trenches must be inspected by a knowledgeable person, be free of standing water and atmospheric hazards and have a safe means of entering and exiting prior to allowing a worker to enter.
Each June, the National Utility Contractors Assoc. recognizes Trench Safety Month. OSHA collaborates with the association for “Trench Safety Stand-Downs” throughout the month.
OSHA’s trenching and excavation webpage provides additional information on trenching hazards and solutions. including a safety video.
Learn more about OSHA.