April 11, 2016
Dauphin County plumbing, heating worker hospitalized after trench cave-in
OSHA fines Middletown contractor $41K for failing to protect employees
Employer name: Williamson Plumbing and Heating Inc., doing business as Roto-Rooter Services Co., 4197 East Harrisburg Pike, Middletown, Pennsylvania
Site: 1857 Pebble Court, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Investigation findings: On Sept. 30, 2015, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency notified OSHA of a trench collapse and the federal agency opened an inspection. When OSHA inspectors arrived onsite, they found a Williamson Plumbing employee was injured while working in an unprotected trench approximately 10-feet deep. The trench's sidewall collapsed - trapping and injuring the worker who required hospitalization. OSHA cited the plumbing contractor's company for the hazard.
The agency also issued citations to the company for failing to:
- Keep excavated materials at least 2 feet from the edge of the trench.
- Construct trenches in accordance with allowable slopes and configurations.
- Ensure that a competent person inspected the trench.
- Instruct employees in recognizing and avoiding unsafe conditions.
- Maintain OSHA injury and illness records.
Proposed penalty: $41,200
Quote: "Williamson Plumbing and Heating was lucky to avoid tragedy here. Trench collapses can easily become underground deathtraps for workers. One cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a small automobile in a cave-in," said Kevin Kilp, director of OSHA's Harrisburg Area Office. "Incidents like this one are preventable when an employer puts a proper protective system in place. Any company engaged in excavation and trenching operations has a responsibility to do what's required to ensure its employees are safe while they work."
View the citations: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/williamsonplumbing1095493.pdf
To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint; or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Harrisburg Area Office at 717-782-3902.
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Release Number: 16-705-PHI (OSHA 16-038 Roto Rooter - Williamson Plumbing & Heating)
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