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OSHA fines Sioux Falls construction company

A Sioux Falls sewer and water contractor is facing thousands of dollars in federal penalties over a pair of alleged workplace safety violations.

Siteworks Inc. is facing $85,000 in penalties from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA.

The citations stem from two construction projects in Sioux Falls last August.

According to an OSHA press release, a Siteworks crew struck an overhead power line while digging trenches to install storm sewer lines near the intersection of 57th Street and South Mellenberndt Place.

The next day, OSHA inspectors saw a Siteworks employee working in an unprotected trench at 41st Street and Valleyview Road. The release said this left the worker at risk of a potentially fatal trench collapse.

OSHA said in both cases, the company failed to protect its workers.

“To understand Siteworks Inc.’s serious disregard for their employees’ safety, consider they narrowly avoided a group of workers being electrocuted on Thursday and left another worker unprotected from the deadly risk of trench collapse on Friday,” said Sheila Stanley, the OSHA Area Director in Sioux Falls. "We will not tolerate the brazen willingness of this employer to endanger their workers and will hold them accountable for their inactions. Siteworks has provided excavation services for more the 25 years and is well aware of industry and OSHA safety requirements.”

Siteworks has not responded to a request for comment.

Josh Chilson is the news director at South Dakota Public Broadcasting. A Florence, S.D. native, Josh graduated with a journalism degree from South Dakota State University. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and videographer, and most recently as managing editor for Dakota News Now. Josh is based out of SDPB's Sioux Falls studio.