Plumbing Company Cited for 3rd Safety Violation

OSHA fines Illinois contractor $59,290 for not providing workers with cave-in protection.

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The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) cited Kellenberger Plumbing & Underground for one willful and one serious safety violation for not providing cave-in protection or having a competent person on site to remove employees from a hazardous area. The total amount of the two citations was $59,290.

The agency opened an investigation under OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on trenching and excavation after receiving a complaint that two workers were removing a sewer line in a trench more than 8 feet deep at a workplace under construction in Naperville, Illinois, on March 4.

“An unprotected trench can bury a worker under thousands of pounds of soil in seconds and cause severe or fatal injuries,” says Kathy Webb, OSHA’s area director at its Calumet City Area Office.

“Since 2012, OSHA has now cited Kellenberger Plumbing three times for violating federal trenching standards. The company knows that every trench deeper than 5 feet must have cave-in protection. They are putting their employees in serious danger by ignoring federal safety standards.”

A willful violation is defined as a violation in which the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement (purposeful disregard) or acted with plain indifference to employee safety. A serious violation exists when the workplace hazard could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm, unless the employer did not know or could not have known of the violation.


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