U.S. Department of Labor Proposes Penalties of $210,037 To Missouri Contractor for Exposing Workers to Trenching Hazards

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Blue Nile Contractors Inc. – based in Birmingham, Missouri – for failing to protect employees from trench collapse and electrical hazards. The company faces $210,037 in penalties.

OSHA inspectors observed workers exposed to trenching and excavation hazards while installing water lines at a Kansas City, Missouri, jobsite in May 2019. OSHA cited the company for four repeat and five serious safety violations of trenching and electrical hazards, and placed the company in the Agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

“Trench collapses can be quick and cause serious or fatal injuries, but they are preventable,” said OSHA Kansas City Area Director Karena Lorek. “Employers must ensure that there is a safe way to enter and exit a trench, cave-in protection is used, all materials are placed away from the trench’s edge, standing water and other hazards are addressed, and no one enters a trench before it has been properly inspected.”

OSHA recently updated the National Emphasis Program on preventing trenching and excavation collapses, and developed a series of compliance assistance resources to help keep workers safe from these hazards. The agency’s trenching and excavation webpage provides additional information on trenching hazards and solutions.  The page includes a trenching operations QuickCard on protecting workers around trenches, and the “Protect Workers in Trenches” poster that provides a quick reminder of the three ways to prevent trench collapses.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.  For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.