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Contractor cited in fatal trench collapse
OSHA completes investigation into February death
trench rescue 3 jd
Emergency crews work to free a man trapped when a trench collapsed Feb. 8 at a construction site in south Forsyth. - photo by File photo

A Jackson business has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration in connection with the February death of an employee in Forsyth County.


In a report released Friday, OSHA cites 2-Brothers Enterprises Inc. for two willful and one serious violation following its investigation of the incident at a construction site in Waterstone Falls subdivision off of Trammel Road.


The penalties total $116,200, according to the report.


The firm has up to 15 business days to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings.


Cindy Coe, OSHA’s regional administrator in Atlanta, was critical of the company.


“This employer is well aware of the requirements to protect workers engaged in trenching operations yet failed to utilize the methods and equipment available,” she said in a statement. “A tragic death is the result.”


OSHA’s investigation found that the company had been installing a sewer line in a trench about 40 feet long and 9 feet deep at the subdivision site southeast of Cumming.


The trench walls were vertical with no means of cave-in protection provided.


Dirt placed at the edge of the trench had fallen into it, trapping 20-year-old Aaron Banks of Covington.


About 40 emergency workers, including the Forsyth County Fire Department's trench rescue team and a technical rescue squad from the Gwinnett County Fire Department, took part in the rescue operation. Banks died at the scene.


According to OSHA’s report, the willful violations involved placing soil within 2 feet of the edge of the excavation and not providing cave-in protection to workers.


A willful violation was described as one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.


The report went on to explain that the serious violation was issued for failing to provide a ladder or other safe means of exit for employees working in a trench at least 4 feet deep.


It noted that a serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.