KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Federal officials observed a series of “repeat and serious” jobsite violations, which potentially put employees’ lives in jeopardy, prompting a hefty fine and possible additional penalties.
According to a release from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Blue Nile Contractors Inc. of Birmingham, Missouri, failed “to protect employees from trench collapse and electrical hazards” and has been fined $210,037.
OSHA inspectors observing the installation of water lines at a jobsite in May 2019 noted “four repeat and five serious safety violations of trenching and electrical hazards,” according to a Department of Labor release.
Blue Nile has been placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
“Trench collapses can be quick and cause serious or fatal injuries, but they are preventable,” OSHA Kansas City Area Director Karena Lorek said. “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.”
Blue Nile has 15 business days to comply with OSHA demands, request an informal conference with Lorek or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.