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OSHA finds safety violation caused worker's death in trench

When construction company owners plan building projects in Ohio, all potential hazards must be considered and addressed to prevent workplace accidents. One of the most dangerous actions on construction sites is working in trenches, and compliance with safety regulations is vital. Even if trench walls are properly supported, a safety violation that seems insignificant can have devastating consequences.

In June of this year in another state, one worker lost his life and another one was injured when they were buried under soil and concrete in a trench that was 10 feet deep. Investigators with the local division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported that although the walls of the trench had been secured, the soil that had been removed from the trench might have been piled too close to the edge, or it might have been piled too high. When the spill pile collapsed, the weight of it caused the trench walls to collapse and bury the workers.

The investigators also determined that the workers were in the trench without hard hats. Furthermore, no ladder was present to provide a quick exit in the case of an emergency. Other violations that were included in the OSHA citations were an unguarded manhole, untested confined spaces, lack of rescue equipment and inadequate training.

Losing a loved one in a workplace accident resulting from a safety violation is devastating under any circumstances. The surviving family will also have to cope with end-of-life arrangements and daily living expenses. In Ohio and all states, the workers' compensation insurance system provides financial relief for covered dependents in the form of death benefits that typically address these financial needs.

Source: constructiondive.com, "KY contractor fined $42K for trench collapse causing worker's death", Kim Slowey, Nov. 2, 2015

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