January 16, 2020        


U.S. Department of Labor Cites Plumbing Contractor for Exposing Employees into Hazards After Fatal Trench Collapse at Mississippi

TAYLOR, MS — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has mentioned Rhobina Electric Inc. — a industrial electric and plumbing contractor located in Batesville, Mississippi — for exposing workers to excavation dangers after a worker suffered fatal injuries in a trench collapse in a Taylor, Mississippi, worksite. The contractor faces $37,318 in penalties.

The worker was installing sewer pipe into a brand new concrete manhole once the collapse happened. OSHA cited the company for allowing workers to operate in a trench without hard hats and cave-in security, also for not eliminating employees from a trench that revealed signs of water intrusion and potential collapse. OSHA also noted that the contractor for failing to satisfy the reporting requirement, which means that companies notify OSHA within eight hours of any event involving a worker fatality.

“This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had followed the law and sloped, shored or shielded the trench walls to prevent a collapse,” stated OSHA Area Director Courtney Bohannon, at Jackson, Mississippi. “Before allowing workers to enter a trench, employers are required to install proper safety measures.”  

OSHA recently upgraded the National Emphasis Program on preventing injuries related to trenching and excavation collapses. OSHA’s trenching and excavation webpage provides additional details on trenching hazards and alternatives, such as a trenching operations QuickCard, along with also a “Protect Workers in Trenches” poster.

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

Under that the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, companies are accountable for providing safe and healthy workplaces for their workers. OSHA’s role is to help make sure such requirements for America’s functioning women and men by establishing and implementing standards, and providing instruction, instruction, and help. For more info, see https://www.osha.gov.

The assignment of this Department of Labor is to cultivate, encourage and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and acquaintances of those United States; enhance working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and also guarantee work-related advantages and rights.

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Media Contacts:

Eric Lucero, 678-237-0630, [email protected]
Michael D’Aquino, 678-237-0630, [email protected]

Release Number:  20-36-ATL (18)

U.S. Department of all Labor information substances are available at http://www.dol.gov. The Department’s Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental data and documents into other formats, including Braille and big print. For option format requests, please get the Department in (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (national relay).

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Jeff Thornton