Missouri contractor fined $224k after trench collapse, employee injuries

A Missouri contractor has been cited by federal workplace safety officials for trenching and excavation violations after an employee suffered severe injuries when a 20-foot trench collapsed during excavation of Creve Coeur Sanitary Sewer Trunk in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

OSHA has cited Unnerstall Contracting Company LLC, based in Pacific, Missouri, for three willful and four serious violations. The company faces penalties of $224,459.

The agency has placed the company in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

OSHA cited the company for failing to utilize adequate trench protective systems, permitting employees to ride in the bucket of hydraulic excavators, and allowing water to accumulate in the floor of the trench. OSHA also cited the employer for failing to provide a safe means of egress from the trench, protect workers from struck-by hazards, and place excavated soil piles an adequate distance from trench edges.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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