Construction Company Hit With 11 Safety Violations

2 years 9 months 2 weeks ago June 10, 2014 Jun 10, 2014 Tuesday, June 10 2014 Tuesday, June 10, 2014 8:49:00 AM CDT in News
By: Nicole Neidenberg, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

FENTON - An ongoing investigation may have come to an end Tuesday for a construction worker that was severely injured on December 13, 2013. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited the construction company, Gerhenson Construction Co. Inc, with 11 safety violations, including one willful and 10 serious for failing to protect workers. 

The construction worker suffered a broken vertebrae after he was struck by a partially suspended load of sewer pipe and knocked to the bottom of an unprotected 13-foot-deep trench.

"Failing to protect workers from struck-by hazards and allowing employees to work in a trench without protective systems is inexcusable and will not be tolerated," Larry Davidson, OSHA's acting area director in St. Louis said.

"Being struck-by vehicles and other objects is a leading cause of construction-related injuries and deaths. Gershenson Construction has a responsibility to protect workers from known hazards in the construction industry."

OSHA issued one willful violation to Gershenson Construction Co. for failing to ensure workers were protected from cave-in hazards while working in a trench that exceeded a depth of 5 feet. OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. 

Ten serious violations were issued for exposing workers to the hazards of being struck-by a partially suspended load; lack of adequate and frequent inspections of the work site for hazards; inadequate training of employees; lack of head protection; use of damaged rigging equipment; lack of permanently affixed legible identification markings on rigging equipment; and allowing an excavator to operate within 10 feet of energized, overhead power lines.

Other violations involved trenching standards, such as allowing exposed and unprotected gas and water lines in a trench, and failing to remove workers from a trench until necessary precautions were taken to ensure their safety. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and notice of proposed penalties to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. If the company does not file or contest within that period, it must abate the cited conditions within the period ordered in the citations and pay the proposed penalties. The proposed penalties total $110,400.

 

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