Huntsville Contractor Cited by OSHA for Trenching Violations

The construction industry poses many dangers to construction workers, whether it be from exposure to hazardous chemicals, electrical equipment, heavy machinery or dangerous tools.  When a construction company forces its employees to work in unsafe conditions, those dangers are then compounded.  The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), has the responsibility of investigating unsafe working conditions for not only construction workers, but for all American workers.  When one Alabama construction worker complained of unsafe working conditions, OSHA stepped in and began an investigation into the company’s working conditions.

An Alabama construction worker in Huntsville was fired from his job when he refused to enter an unprotected trench.  The worker complained to OSHA and an investigation began into the unsafe practices of the construction company. 

The OSHA investigation found that DKS Structural Services Inc., which was doing business as Don Kennedy and Sons House Moving Co., was not following safe procedures by exposing employees to fall and crushing hazards by allowing them to stand in a backhoe bucket as a means to lower and raise them in the excavation, as well as exposing workers to hazards from loose soil, rocks and equipment by not having them wear head protection.  OSHA also found two willful violations for failing to provide a safe means of entrance and exit from an excavation and not providing cave-in protection for employees working in a trench that was fifteen feet deep.  Any willful violation is one that is committed with intentional knowledge of and voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements. 

DKS was fined $122,000 for the violations that occurred at the time the construction worker was terminated while he and other workers were repairing a foundation at an apartment complex. 

DKS is based in Huntsville and is a construction company that primarily deals in structural relocation, and foundation repair and leveling.  According to the law, the company has fifteen business days from receiving the citations to comply , request an informal conference with OSHA’s director in the Birmingham area, or contest the citations and penalties.