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Ohio company faces fines for death of man in trench

An employer in Ohio has been cited for a workplace accident that resulted in the death of an employee. According to the Nov. 22 report, a 33-year-old male was crushed and died when he was digging out soil inside a 12-foot trench. The walls themselves collapsed, forcing thousands of pounds of dirt over the top of him. It took rescue workers hours to find his body.

The employer, KRW Plumbing LLC, didn't have trench cave-in protections in place for its employees, which are necessary in these difficult conditions. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company for two serious safety violations as well as two willful safety violations.

What's most shocking about this case is that earlier that same day, the same trench had collapsed slightly, but the man had been able to escape. He had also been involved in a similar incident the month before at a different work site. In all cases, the man had not been protected by cave-in protections, which could have saved his life.

Trench collapses resut in tremendous soil weight covering workers that they are nearly impossible to survive. According to OSHA, even one cubic yard of soil can weigh up to 3,000 pounds, which is as much as an automobile. The company in this case did not train its workers on trench protections and trench hazards, which unfortunately resulted in a number of near-misses, and now this man's death.

Situations like this are tragic, because the employer should have been aware that accidents nearly hurt or killed their worker before. If your employer is negligent in this manner, it's important to seek out legal advice to protect yourself and your coworkers.

Source: Builder, "OSHA cites Ohio contractor for trench death," Jennifer Goodman, Nov. 22, 2016

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