Although authorities are always on the lookout for construction sites at which workers are exposed to safety hazards, some employers continue to disregard safety regulations. A Colorado-based company and a subcontractor were recently cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for exposing workers to hazards that could cause life-threatening construction injuries. The site at which the violation occurred is a library renovation project in another state.
OSHA inspectors reportedly came across four construction workers who were working in a trench that was more than 12 feet deep with a length of 150 feet. To escalate the cave-in hazard, it was raining, and the excavation was below an unsupported concrete structure that posed additional struck-by hazards. It was determined that the employer had no regard for the safety of the workers who were installing rebar in the trench.
The citations that were issued were for willful and serious violations, meaning that safety regulations were intentionally disregarded in circumstances of known danger to workers. It was determined that the excavation below the structure was not adequately supported. Also, the failure of the employers to remove the workers from the dangerous conditions in the unsupported trench while it was raining led to a citation for a serious violation that could potentially result in a worker’s death.
Although the workers at this site escaped construction injuries, many others are not so lucky. Colorado workers who have suffered on-the-job injuries may have to cope with high medical costs and the inability to return to work for long periods. Compensation is available, and benefits may be pursued by filing a claim with the workers’ compensation insurance fund. Coverage typically includes compensation for medical expenses along with lost wages based on the injured worker’s level of income.
Source: austinmonitor.com, “OSHA fines Central Library contractors $88K for excavation hazards“, Elizabeth Pagano, Sept. 4, 2015