Excavation Safety Procedures Failure Cost NY Contractor $200,000 in Fines

Excavation safety lacking at New Jersey High School where contractor was finedFollowing a June 22, 2016 inspection, the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to New York-based general contractor, The Landtek Group Inc., a company that specializes in sports facility design and construction. OSHA determined that nine violations existed at the New Jersey work site, one willful and eight serious. Most revolved around excavation safety. For these violations, OSHA has proposed a penalty of $197,752.

The investigation took place, following a complaint, and found employees of The Landtek Group working in an unprotected 10-foot deep excavation at a suburban New Jersey high school. OSHA determined that no protective systems were in place to support excavation safety. As a result of the lack of proper protection or safeguarding systems, the workers were at risk of a cave-in hazard.

OSHA determined that the following violations existed:

  • Failure to prevent employee exposure to fall, atmospheric, and explosion hazards
  • Failure to properly inspect the excavation site
  • Failure to implement a written-permit space program
  • Failure to train employees in job duties and associated hazards
  • Failure to coordinate rescue and emergency services for workers
  • Failure to provide mechanical retrieval equipment for emergencies

OSHA Parsippany area office director, Kris Hoffman, “Without needed protections in place, an excavation can quickly become a grave, as thousands of pounds of soil collapse upon workers below ground. The Landtek Group must re-examine its safety procedures and take all available precautions – including installing shoring or other means – to prevent unexpected movement or collapses of the soil that can lead to disaster.”

A failure to implement adequate safeguarding and excavation safety at a work site, including a lack of excavation training. A resource that safety leaders can utilize to ensure compliance is an OSHA-approved online training course for Competent Person/Excavation Training.