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Contractor exposed sewer line workers to cave-ins: OSHA



An Illinois contractor has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after inspectors found it failed to adequately protect workers from cave-in hazards.

OSHA announced Monday that it cited Breese-based Groundworks Contracting Inc. for one willful violation, four serious violations and one non-serious violation of federal digging and excavation standards and proposed $77,147 in penalties.

The fine and citation stem from five Groundworks site visits between Nov. 30, 2022, and Jan. 20 of this year at the Silvercreek Crossing residential area in the City of Waterloo, where employees were found installing storm sewer lines without proper head protection and protection against potential cave-ins.

OSHA said Groundworks also did not have a competent person on site to inspect the trenches before the sewer line work began and also, on a separate occasion, failed to protect a worker who was working in an elevated excavator bucket above a 1

5-foot-deep trench.

OSHA says excavation standards require protective systems on trenches deeper than five feet, and at the Groundworks construction site, employees were working in trenches as deep as 18 feet.

Excavation hazards are considered among the construction industry’s deadliest hazards, with 39 workers suffering fatal injuries in digging and excavation jobs in 2022, according to OSHA.


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