Duce Construction Co., based in Champaign, was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today for failing to protect workers from trenching hazards at a job site on East Airport Road in Savoy, Illinois. OSHA opened its inspection in February 2014 and found Duce Construction committed four safety violations, including three serious and one willful, the proposed penalties will cost the company a total of $59,500.
The inspection found that there were two trench boxes that the company failed to use correctly and therefore exposed the workers to soil avalanching and cave-in hazards. OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Three serious violations were issued for storing piles of soil within 2 feet of the edge of the excavation; failing to provide a means of exit or escape, such as a ladder, from the trench; and exposing workers to vehicular traffic without warning vests or other garments to alert drivers to their presence. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
A willful violation is issued when safety rules are committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. Duce Construction Co. was cited for trenching violations in 2006 and 2008. The company has 15 days from receipt of its citation and penalties to comply, contest the findings or request an informal conference with OSHA's area director.
Thomas Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria, stated that Duce Construction put it's workers in harm's way by allowing them into a unprotected trench and that it is unacceptable that all necessary precautions were not taken by a company that specialize in this type of work.