The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation into a 8 foot deep trench collapse that trapped a worker in Omaha Tuesday morning. The ordeal started at 9:45 a.m. at 130th and Hawthorne Court and it took more than six hours to free Drew Johnson who was working on a sewer main project. He was rushed to a hospital and continues to recover.
OSHA Public Affairs spokesperson Scott Allen says they are just starting their investigation and had compliance officers at the scene on Tuesday and they will likely return today. They will be interviewing witnesses and talk with officials at Utility Trenching to see if all standards and regulations were followed.
There have been several OSHA investigations involving Utility Trenching. Allen says, “They received three violations in 2008 for excavation standards that were not being followed. They received a repeat violation in 2012 for the same thing. We are concerned that any company working in trenching, they must follow the OSHA standards and regulations to prevent this type of incident.” He says any time a company has a worker in a trench that is five feet deep has to have proper shoring materials or a trenching box to prevent it from collapsing in on the workers.
Allen says OSHA has six months to complete their investigation. We reached out to Utility Trenching who had no comment.