State cites Oakwood for trench collapse that hurt 2 workers

A state agency issued two citations to the city of Oakwood for a trench incident that injured two workers in March.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) issued the citations last week, but this news organization obtained the documents today.

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A city of Oakwood worker, Charles Rohrback, was buried up to his waist for hours in a trench collapse that occurred in the 200 block of Northview Road.

Rohrback, a 21-year Public Works Department employee, was part of crew that was installing sewer pipes running under the street when the trench collapsed. Philippe Prevoteau, a 25-year employee of the department, was injured when he tried to help Rohrback.

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BWC conducted an investigation into the incident and rendered its decision in a letter sent to city officials. The agency found that there were two violations in regards to its Ohio Public Employment Risk Reduction Program’s standards including:

“On or about March 8, 2018, a competent person at the work location did not remove employees from a hazardous trenching and excavation area and the situation resulted in a cave-in that exposed employees to struck-by and crush hazards.

Hazardous conditions that existed in the trench included, but were not necessarily limited to: trench walls that were not adequately protected from cave-in or collapse and; vibration from work vehicles adjacent to the trench.”

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Violation number two stated:

“Each employee in an excavation was not protected from cave-ins by an adequate protective system designed in accordance with paragraph (b) Design of sloping and benching systems or (c) Design of support systems, shield systems, and other protective systems.

On or about March 8, 2018, employees were exposed to struck-by and crush hazards in an excavation that did not have an adequate protective system in place to prevent cave-ins at a temporary work location which was situated at or about 269 Northview Road in Oakwood.”

BWC informed city officials that they have 14 days to contest the citations.

We are reaching out to the city for comment, and this story will be updated when more information becomes available.

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