The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration last week cited a Pennsylvania contractor and its staffing supplier for failing to protect temporary workers from a potential trench collapse.
Construction contractor Kinsey Corp. was contracted to install sanitary sewer, storm sewer and other underground utility lines at the Settlers Pointe housing development in Pittsburgh, according to OSHA. Kinsey contracted Gillmann Services to provide temporary employees for pipe installation work. OSHA initiated an inspection in September 2015 following an anonymous tip, and found workers and temporary workers working in a trench as deep as 18 feet without cave-in protections.
OSHA issued Kinsey a willful citation for failing to take measures to protect company employees and one temporary employee in a trench as deep as 18 feet. The agency also identified serious violations related to safety hazards that endangered employees as they installed a storm sewer and related structures.
Gillmann was cited with a serious violation for failure to train its employees prior to allowing them to perform trenching and excavation work. This is Gillmann’s first citation for not properly training an employee.
Both the host company and the staffing provider are responsible for providing training and ensuring worker safety, says Dawn McCartney, director of contingent workforce strategies and research for Staffing Industry Analysts. “Sometimes the host companies express concern that providing training may increase the risk of co-employment,” she wrote in a previous CWS 3.0 article. “It’s important to note while providing safety training may be a small factor toward co-employment status, other factors are much more legally dispositive, such as the day-to-day direction of the worker. The bottom line is the identical or equivalent safety training given to full-time employees should be automatically given to the contingent worker.”
The proposed penalties are $37,600 for Kinsey and $7,000 for Gillmann.
“Each company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.