Unsafe Trenching Procedures and Major OSHA Fines Are Easily Preventable

We here at the North America Heavy Equipment Training Services (NAHETS) hope that nobody willingly puts their employees in harm’s way. But sadly, there are some construction companies risking their employees’ lives and safety by taking short cuts.  They may be trying to save money or time by haphazardly training and implementing safety procedures.
The risk is not worth the few dollars or minutes they might save in the short-run. That point is proven —yet again — with news from Illinois that OSHA recently fined a construction company in that area $59,500 for alleged safety violations on a jobsite for fostering unsafe trenching operations. Ouch.

trenchBackhoe-Trench_LR1-310x390This news hits very close to home for us at NAHETS because the alleged violations occurred due to unsafe trenching procedures. A main focus of our heavy equipment training is how to safely and most effectively implement a trenching procedure. There is no excuse for a company to not take the time and effort to create a safe trenching environment.

OSHA initiated an inspection of the company in February under the National Emphasis Program for trenching and excavation. “Each year, trench collapses result in numerous deaths and serious injuries,” Tom Bielema, OSHA’s area director in Peoria, said in a news release. “Employers that specialize in this type of work must take all necessary precautions to ensure their employees have safe working conditions.”

According to OSHA standards, all excavations 5 feet or deeper must be protected against collapse. “The trenching industry is so dangerous,” OSHA spokesperson Scott Allen said. “We think it’s important to respond.”

The company was cited for “serious violations” for storing piles of soil within 2 feet of the edge of an excavation, failing to provide a means of egress from the trench and not equipping its employees with high-visibility safety vests when working near traffic. A “serious violation” is defined as one which there is “substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.”

The silver lining in this instance is that no injuries resulted from these errors, yet these violations never should have existed in the first place. NAHETS training and certifications are nationally recognized and can ensure that operators have the skill and knowledge to be safe and efficient while meeting or exceeding all proper measures. Please contact us if your company is need of heavy equipment training. The investment in our services will save you money in the long-run and ensure that you operate the safest jobsite possible. We also believe that you will be pleased at the affordability of our services and how easy it will be to implement our training services. Thanks for reading.

Portions of this article were taken from a report by the News-Gazette in Central Illinois.

 

 

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