- A Kentucky contractor, Josh Lefevre Construction Company, has been fined $41,600 after an investigation found the company violated safety procedures in a June 2015 trench collapse that resulted in one worker's death and another's injury, WAVE 3 News reported.
- The Kentucky Labor Cabinet (KLC), which oversees the state’s Occupational Safety and Health (KYOSH) program, levied the fines for a variety of violations, including not isolating a manhole, not testing the space before workers entered, not providing rescue equipment on hand and failing to offer proper training and safety equipment.
- According to KYOSH investigators, the workers were in a 10-foot deep sewer line trench when a spill pile collapsed, trapping the workers under concrete and dirt. KYOSH determined the workers were not wearing hardhats, there was no ladder in place for workers to be able to exit the trench, and the trench box they were in was four feet shorter than the hole, not providing adequate protection.
Although KYOSH determined the trench box was lacking, WAVE reported that first responders confirmed there were also support walls bracing the soil on either side of the trench. KYOSH’s investigation focused in part on how well the wall held and whether the debris pile that slid back into the trench was too heavy, too high, or too close to the excavation.
"There are a number of things you are required to do to keep your workers safe," KLC communications director Daniel Lowry told WAVE. "One is shoring [of any hole deeper than three feet."
According to the KLC, Lefevre has no history of trench violations, but, according to Lowry, "there were some serious violations for scaffolding on a project in Greensburg back in 2011," for which Lefevre paid a $3,500 fine. Lowry added that, since the trench accident, Lefevre has made changes regarding worker safety.
Earlier this year, OSHA fined a Houston contractor Hassell Construction almost half a million dollars for what the agency called "egregious, willful violations" after a worker was seriously injured when a below-ground trench collapsed.