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OSHA: JK Excavating, company in Morrow trench collapse, has past violations

Posted at 4:19 PM, Dec 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-29 17:45:04-05

SALEM TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- The contracting company who employed the man killed in a trench collapse Thursday has been cited for trench hazards before, according to documents from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 

JK Excavating employee Zach Hess, 25, died when a trench collapsed in a Morrow neighborhood Thursday afternoon. It took first responders hours to recover his body. 

OSHA officially opened an investigation regarding the Morrow trench collapse on Friday, according to Rhonda Burke, U.S. Department of Labor deputy director of public affairs. 

OSHA cited JK Excavating in 2014 for violating workplace safety for trenching hazards. 

The company paid $5,850 for two “serious” violations that occurred in July 2014 at a Hamilton subdivision, according to OSHA documents. 

OSHA said the first violation involved an employee working in an excavation that was 7 feet deep and 6 feet wide that had no access or egress within 25 feet of the work area. The second violation involved a worker in a 7-foot excavation that did not have adequate protection against cave-ins. 

OSHA requires a stairway, ladder, ramp or other safe way of egress in trench excavations that are more than four feet deep to require no more than 25 feet of lateral travel for employees. 

“The walls of the excavation were not properly sloped, shored, benched or otherwise adequately protected against collapse,” OSHA documents stated. 

OSHA officials were on the scene of the trench collapse Thursday afternoon. The cause of the collapse remains under investigation.