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OSHA Cites Jackson Contractor in Fatal Trench Collapse: Workers’ Compensation Fails to Properly Compensate Family

A Jackson-based contractor has been citedby the Occupational Safety and Health and Administration for several safety violations that led to a trench collapse in Cumming early this year which resulted in the wrongful death of a worker. Unfortunately, under the workers’ compensation act, the workers’ family is extremely limited in what it can recover due to this on-the-job accident. Despite efforts by workers’ compensation lawyers for years to improve the benefits for families of workers killed on-the-job, the workers’ compensation laws have simply not improved.

The company, 2-Brothers Enterprises Inc was cited for several willful and serious violations related to the trench collapse.The collapse occurred in February at a worksite in Cumming.In the trench was a twenty-year-old worker who was trapped by the falling soil.Emergency crews managed to extricate the worker, but he died from his injuries.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration began an inspection after it found out about the cave-in.When OSHA inspectors arrived at the scene, they found that the trench had been excavated to install a sewer line.The trench was approximately 40 foot long and 9 feet deep.However, there were no safeguards in place for protecting workers inside the trench.The trench walls were vertical, and unstable.Large amounts of soil and dirt had simply been stacked on the edges of the trench.In fact, the collapse had been triggered by these mounds of dirt falling into the trench.

The Occupational Safety And Health Administration now says that there were several willful and serious violations that contributed to this trench collapse.There were 2 willful violations.The willful violations involved placing soil within 2 feet of the edge of the trench and failure to provide cave-in protection to workers inside the trench.According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a willful violation is one that is committed with intentional disregard for worker safety.

The company was also cited for one serious violation.This involved the failure to provide a ladder or other means of exit for workers in a trench of at least 4 feet in depth.According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, serious violations are those in which there is a substantial chance that the worker could be exposed to physical harm from a workplace hazard which the employer should have known of.In this case, there seems to be enough reason to believe that the employer was well aware of the hazards of sending workers inside a trench like this. At the very least, the employer should have known of the procedures which should have been followed. Yet, the employer failed to implement even basic trench safety measures that could have prevented a collapse, or prevented deaths in case of a collapse.

Trench shoring is one of the ways that excavations can be made safer for workers.Working in a trench is often seen as being dangerous work, but it doesn’t have to be.The walls of the trench can be shored to stabilize them and prevent the risk of a trench cave-in.Additionally, workers must only be allowed to enter the trench, when it has been found to be safe for them to use.

The Atlanta Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Katz Law Firm represent workers who have been injured in construction accidents, crane accidents, fires and explosions and other types of workplace and industrial accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia.