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Pennsylvania man killed in trench collapse; OSHA to investigate

When an employee goes to work, there should be little to no fear of a workplace accident occurring. There are federal safety standards that employers must adhere to in order to prevent or minimize the risk of injuries to workers.

One Pennsylvania excavating company had been fined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration over two years ago for not providing adequate safety measures to protect their employees. But even after paying fines, the company may have violated the safety standards again after an employee died last week. He had been working in a trench when it caved in suddenly.

When the 10-foot trench collapsed, other employees who had been nearby tried to rescue the man but couldn't. Excavation sites are supposed to have protections such as sloping or protective boxes. But because the trench did not have any shoring, other employees could not enter to help the man.

OSHA has launched an investigation into the incident to determine whether any safety regulations were violated. If it is discovered that the excavating company failed to provide adequate protections from cave-ins, it could face a number of citations and fines.

It is likely that the family and friends of the man who died in the trench collapse have a number of unanswered questions. They may be wondering whether the accident could have been prevented or whether other employees should have been able to reach the man before he died. They may also be questioning the company's safety precautions, especially since the company had already been cited two years ago with regards to employee safety in the event of a collapse.

But even if the questions eventually get answered, the man's family will still have to deal with the loss of a loved one. Those who have lost a family member in a fatal accident can seek compensation for their loss. It will never bring that person back, but it can help the victim's family move forward.

Source: York Daily Record online, "Windsor Township company has prior OSHA violations," Ted Czech, 22 June 2011

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