An Alabama construction company is facing a roughly $17,000 fine from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration following a workplace accident that killed two construction workers in Starkville last year.
Two workers with Tuscaloosa-based Southern Civil Contracting, Inc. were killed in a trench collapse at the housing development on South Montgomery Street on May 19, 2020. OSHA’s Jackson office investigated the accident and declared Southern Civil to be in violation of multiple safety regulations, two of them serious enough to warrant fines, according to inspection documents from the administration’s website.
The inspection documents say the two employees were working in the trench to install a new sewer pipe when a boulder at the top of the trench fell and hit them. One of the employees, Zachary Wayne Osbourn, 36, died at the construction site, while the other, William Kezzire, 19, died on a helicopter en route to North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, according to previous reporting by The Dispatch. Both men were from Fayette County, Alabama.
OSHA fined Southern Civil $12,145 for violations of requirements of protective systems. According to safety standards listed on OSHA’s website, employers are required to implement “adequate protective systems” to protect workers from cave-ins.
OSHA also fined Southern Civil $4,858 for violating specific excavation requirements, which mandates, “All surface encumbrances that are located so as to create a hazard to employees shall be removed or supported, as necessary, to safeguard employees.”
OSHA also cited Southern Civil for hazard communication violations but did not levy any fines for those violations.
Southern Civil has contested the violations. A representative from the company did not return calls from The Dispatch by press time.