OSHA fines Sioux Falls construction company over $200,000 for work safety violations

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) – A Sioux Falls-based construction company is facing thousands…

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) – A Sioux Falls-based construction company is facing thousands of dollars in fines over a series of workplace safety violations.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Wednesday announced citations against H&W Contracting LLC over its “history of disregarding the serious and often fatal dangers associated with working in an unprotected trench and federal law.”

Officials say H&W put its workers at risk of being buried under thousands of pounds of soil while they worked in trenches – including two instances within a week of each other.

OSHA inspectors responded to a complaint on Nov. 16, 2021 and found H&W employees working in an unprotected trench in Tea while they installed a waterline for a fire hydrant. Six days later, another complaint resulted in inspectors finding workers in five separate unprotected trenches as they replaced storm sewers in Salem on Nov. 22.

“Each site had a different foreman, different crew members and a different scope of work. The common thread is H&W Contracting’s continued failure to protect its workers,” said OSHA Area Director Sheila Stanley in Sioux Falls. “Trench collapses are among the construction industry’s most deadly hazards. Workers caught when thousands of pounds of loose soil and rocks pour on and around them often suffer serious injuries or worse. H&W Contracting must change the way it operates before disaster strikes.”

OSHA fined H&W Contracting a total of $218,016 for the two violations.

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