April 2021 Enforcement

OSHA cites Oklahoma construction contractor for exposing workers to serious trenching, excavation hazards


OSHA cited Cherokee Pride Construction Inc. of Sapulpa for serious violations related to excavation work. Inspectors arrived at a Broken Arrow job site in September 2020 and found employees in standing water as they installed water lines in two trenches as part of a street widening project. OSHA determined the company failed to ensure required cave-in protection was used, an appropriate means of escape existed and that workers wore hard hats, as required.

OSHA cited the company for two willful, four repeat, and three serious violations, and has proposed penalties totaling $205,500. The agency cited the company three times in 2017 for failing to provide trench workers personal protective equipment, a means of escape and hazard recognition training, allowing standing water inside the excavation sites, and failing to fix ladder defects.

Excavation work is among the most dangerous in the construction industry. Trenches can collapse around and atop workers, crushing and burying them quickly and sometimes fatally – which has long made trench and excavation protection a vital concern for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

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