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Bridge repair firm cited by OSHA after fatal trench collapse


The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited and proposed $140,000 in fines against a Pennsylvania bridge repair company after a fatal trench collapse.

The agency issued citations for two willful violations for lack of cave-in protection to Williamsport, Pennsylvania-based Susquehanna Supply Co. Inc. after an investigation prompted by a fatal trench collapse, according to an agency statement issued on Monday.

OSHA investigators determined the employee was working inside a trench, approximately 12-15 feet deep, when the adjacent trench wall collapsed and he was buried in soil, according to the release.

Susquehanna was placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses resources on inspecting employers who, according to the agency, have demonstrated indifference to their Occupational Safety and Health Act obligations through willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations. The company has a history of health and safety violations dating back to the early 1970s, according to the agency.

“Susquehanna Supply Company took unacceptable risks with its workers’ lives by failing to comply with common-sense safety practices intended to prevent trenching tragedies such as this from occurring,” Mark Stelmack, director of OSHA’s Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, office, said in a statement. “Employers who expose workers to cave-in hazards from an unprotected trench place those employees’ lives in immediate jeopardy. This will not be tolerated.”

A company spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

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