Builder, staffing agency cited for fatal trench collapse

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Federal workplace safety regulators have cited and proposed penalties totaling $152,618 against a construction company and a staffing agency after a fatal trench collapse.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited All Power Construction Corp. and staffing agency Labor Finders of Tennessee Inc. after a temporary employee installing sewer lines suffered a fatal injury in the trench collapse, according to a statement issued on Friday.

OSHA issued willful and serious citations to All Power for allowing employees to work in a trench without cave-in protection, failing to provide a safe means to enter and exit the trench, and not having a competent person inspect the trench to identify potential hazards, according to the statement. OSHA cited the staffing agency for one serious violation for not ensuring that employees were trained on trenching and excavation hazards.

All Power faces $139,684 in proposed penalties and Labor Finders faces a $12,934 potential fine.

“Employers are responsible for ensuring their worksites are free of recognized hazards,” Ramona Morris, OSHA Birmingham area office director, said in the statement. “This tragedy could have been prevented had the employer followed the necessary steps to ensure that protective systems were used.”

A person who identified himself as the owner of All Power, but declined to provide his name, said he was planning to appeal the citations and proposed fines. A spokesperson for Labor Finders, which is a franchise organization, said the company’s policy is not to comment on pending litigation.

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