Company blamed for February trench collapse - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jason Miles

Company blamed for February trench collapse

Chopper 5 was over the Fayette County construction site most of the day back on February 1st.  We watched as rescue crews fought to free a trapped worker.  He was finally pulled from his cold and muddy tomb after five hours.

Now, a state report said it never should have happened.

Investigators claim A's & J's Construction company of Memphis failed to properly protect its workers.  They have fined the company more than $4,000 for a number of violations.  The Tennessee Occupational Safety & Health Administration found barriers in the 18-foot deep trench.

"But they didn't follow the manufacturer's recommendations for setting them in a ditch," TOSHA spokesperson Wendy Fisher told us by phone from Nashville.

According to the final report, the trapped worker was not protected from cave-ins by an adequate protective system.  Furthermore, the employer did not train his employees in recognizing and avoiding excavation hazards.

Reporter Jason Miles called the owner of the construction company and told him who he was and why he was calling.  The owner quickly hung up the phone.

The company's address is the same as a Mexican grocery store in Parkway Village.  That's where we got the owner's phone number.  State officials say they have yet to hear from him either.

"Most of the time when we have trenching and excavation cave-ins, there is death involved," Fisher said.

Fortunately for the worker and his boss, death was avoided this time.

A's & J's Construction has until the end of the month to pay the fines of file an appeal.                        

Click here to e-mail Jason Miles.

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