Friday, June 25, 2004

Immigrant Worker Buried Alive in Two Story Deep Trench

This is outrageous.

This 23 year old kid was working in a 25 foot deep trench. His name was Ronal Jordan Perez and he was from Guatemala. (He was misidentified in an earlier article.)

The company, Delmarva Site Development Inc, had been inspected by Maryland OSHA in 2001 and cited as part of a special emphasis program focusing on trench safety.
The inspectors found "serious" violations of two federal standards. The first requires employers to instruct their workers on how to avoid unsafe conditions, records show. The second obliges employers to provide an adequate system to protect employees in an excavation from cave-ins.

State authorities also found less serious violations of four other standards, including rules mandating that employers train workers for the dangers of hazardous chemicals on their work site and that workers wear hard hats.

Delmarva Site Development initially was fined $1,800. However, federal records indicate that the penalty was reduced to $600 within weeks because the company had corrected the violations.
In other words, they knew what the law required. If they are cited with a willfull violation (which from what I know at this point, they should), the state should go after a criminal conviction -- and jail.
Jordan Barab, a former official with the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration, said that deep trenches are one of the most dangerous work environments -- with collapses causing the deaths of 53 workers nationwide in 2003. "Soil, especially wet soil, is extremely heavy," said Barab, who maintains a Web site on worker safety issues. "A cubic yard weighs as much as a small car."
Someday, maybe articles like this will appear the front page of the paper instead buried in the "B" section.

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