Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 01-143
Friday, Aug. 24, 2001
Contact: John Burroughs
Phone: (334) 441-5083
OSHA CITES CONSTRUCTION COMPANY FOLLOWING INSPECTION OF EXCAVATION SITE; PROPOSES PENALTIES TOTALING $78,400
MOBILE, Ala. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today cited George B. Hardee Construction Company, Inc., and proposed $78,400 in penalties for alleged safety violations found at a Mobile trenching site.
OSHA's inspection began March 30, after an agency compliance officer observed workers installing drainage pipes in a seven-foot-deep trench without any cave-in protection.
Following completion of the investigation, OSHA cited the company for an alleged willful violation and proposed a $56,000 penalty for allowing employees to work in an open excavation without proper shoring, sloping or protective equipment, such as trench boxes.
"This is the third time OSHA has cited this company for the same violation. Trench walls can collapse quickly without proper protection, resulting in death or serious injury to trapped workers," said Lana Graves, OSHA's Mobile area director. "A willful violation," she explained, "is one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act and regulations."
The agency also proposed $15,200 in penalties for two alleged repeat violations - failing to instruct employees on how to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions and failing to provide a safe entry to and exit from the trench. OSHA cited the company previously for similar conditions and those citations have become a final order of the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
In addition, the company received two citations for alleged serious violations with proposed penalties totaling $7,200 for failing to protect employees working in a trench from head injuries due to falling soil and asphalt, and failing to have a designated competent person on site to daily inspect the work area.
The company has 15 working days to contest the citations and penalties before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Inspection of the excavation was conducted by the OSHA Mobile area office located at 3737 Government Blvd., Suite 100; phone (334) 441-6131.