Federal investigators have charged a Williamsport bridge contractor in a trench collapse in 2015 that led to the death of one of its employees. The employee was killed when he was crushed by dirt at a jobsite near Millville in Columbia County, PA.
Susquehanna Supply Company was charged Tuesday with violating an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirement that resulted in the death. Among those OSHA guidelines was a requirement that trenches have an adequate protective system, such as sloped walls.
On July 7, 2015, while rehabilitating a bridge over Little Fishing Creek, the employee entered a trench to remove additional soil. The trench was approximately 12 ft. deep. The company’s site-specific safety program addressed the applicable OSHA regulations. However, they had not implemented a protective system in the trench. One of the trench’s dirt walls collapsed, burying the employee up to his chest and crushing him against the bridge’s concrete support. The collapse killed the employee almost instantly.
The company has signed a plea agreement that includes a provision for a $250,000 fine.
Cave-ins are the greatest danger for employees working in trench. They are more likely than other trenching-related accidents to result in worker deaths. For more information on Hazards and Solutions for trenching work visit OSHA’s website.