OSHA conducted an investigation after the death of a worker and found a Nebraska company to have several serious safety violations. Witt Plumbing Inc. has been placed on the Severe Violator Enforcement Program as a result of the on-the-job injury that resulted in the employee’s death. The worker was injured and later died after the trench he was working in collapsed on him. OSHA has determined that the violations, two of which were attributed to gross negligence, are a result of the company’s failure to ensure all safety measures were enforced. The finding was made concerning an accident that occurred earlier this year.

The man was working on installing a new sewer drain pipe at a residential building site when the trench caved in on him. The fatal accident was reportedly a direct result of proper safety standards not being followed. The on-the-job injury could likely have been prevented with the installation of protective shoring, which is a requirement for ditches deeper than five feet. In addition, there was no escape route in place in the event of a trench collapse.

In addition to the company being placed in OSHA’s Enforcement Program, Witt Plumbing Inc. is also facing fines of $157,000. OSHA noted that most incidences of on-the-job injury could be avoided if supervisors and employees were taught and followed all mandated safety procedures. Three of the violations were regarding a lack of proper safety protocols being taught to all supervisors and employees, as well as proper site inspections not being conducted.

Like workers everywhere, the residents of Nebraska are entitled to a safe work environment. Most companies take employee safety very seriously and do a good job of protecting the workers. However, when a situation arises that leads to an on-the-job injury, the victims and their families need help. Workers’ compensation benefits are designed to cover medical expenses and missed time from work so that an employee can focus on recovery. In those instances where a fatality occurs, death benefits provide coverage for surviving dependents to pay for funeral costs and related expenses, as well as a lost income package to help provide financial support in the absence of the fallen worker.

Source: workerscompensation.com, “Nebraska Worker Dies When Trench Collapses At Residential Job Site,” June 26, 2013