SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — On back-to-back days in August, federal regulators with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found two violations by the same contractor.
According to a news release from OSHA, Siteworks Inc., a water and sewer system construction company based in Sioux Falls, received two violations and a proposed $85,005 in penalties.
The violations involve electrocution and trench cave-in hazards from Aug. 18, 2022, and Aug. 19, 2022.
On Aug. 18, inspectors learned a crew struck an overhead power line while digging trenches to install storm sewer lines near the intersection of 57th Street and South Mellenberndt Place. On Aug. 19, inspectors watched an employee installing water lines while working in an unprotected trench at 41st Street and Valleyview Road.
“To understand Siteworks Inc.’s serious disregard for their employees’ safety, consider they narrowly avoided a group of workers being electrocuted on Thursday and left another worker unprotected from the deadly risk of trench collapse on Friday,” OSHA Area Director Sheila Stanley said in a news release.
“We will not tolerate the brazen willingness of this employer to endanger their workers and will hold them accountable for their inactions. Siteworks has provided excavation services for more the 25 years and is well aware of industry and OSHA safety requirements,” Stanley said.
Last year, OSHA issued proposed fines of more than $200,000 against H&W Contracting LLC for workers working in unprotected trenches. OSHA is also investigating a death that occurred at Bell Inc. in Sioux Falls on Nov. 29, 2022.
OSHA said 39 workers died in 2022 from trench collapses and cave-ins.