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Staffing firm fined after worker dies from trench collapse injuries


An Ohio construction staffing firm is facing $91,000 in proposed fines for a trench collapse that buried and killed an employee.

The 26-year-old construction worker with Mason, Ohio-based Stauffer Site Services L.L.C. died two days after sustaining injuries when a nearly 10-foot deep trench collapsed and buried him as he worked installing a sewer line, according to a news release issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Wednesday.

The agency found that Stauffer did not provide trench cave-in protection for its employees and cited the company for one willful violation for the lack of protection, according to the citations. The company was also cited for three serious safety violations for not training employees to recognize trench hazards, not providing a means of access or egress within 25 feet of the work area and for worksite inspections not being conducted by a competent person, according to the citations.

“This tragic death is a reminder of just how quickly an unprotected trench can become a death trap as a worker is buried under thousands of pounds of soil,” Ken Montgomery, OSHA's area director in Cincinnati, said in a statement. “OSHA's trenching standards require that every trench deeper than five feet must have cave-in protection.”

A company spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

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