Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 00-229
Fri., Dec. 29, 2000
Contact: John Burroughs
PHONE: (334) 441-6131
OSHA CITES MOBILE, ALA., CONTRACTOR AND PROPOSES $45,750 PENALTY FOR SAFETY VIOLATIONS FOUND AT TRENCHING SITE
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today cited Construction Labor Services, Inc., and proposed penalties totaling $45,750 for safety violations found at an excavation site in mid-town Mobile.
According to Lana Graves, OSHA's Mobile area director, company employees were working in an excavation over ten feet deep without proper protection while sections of the wall fell into the trench and raw sewage seeped from a broken sewer line they were repairing.
"OSHA inspected this company three times before this August inspection," Graves said. "Company officials recognized the hazards and knew the trenching standards, but did nothing to protect the workers."
Following the inspection, the employer was cited for one willful violation of the trenching standards with a proposed penalty of $35,000 for failing to provide a protective system such as sloping, shoring or a trench box to protect employees from a potential cave-in.
The remaining $10,750 penalty was proposed for five serious violations. These included failure of the designated competent person to stop work and correct hazards when they were observed; allowing a track hoe bucket loaded with soil to swing over the heads of employees working in the trench; allowing employees to work without hard hats; not properly supporting underground utilities, sidewalks, pavement and structures while trenching operations were in progress; and not providing ladders for workers to enter and leave the trench.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act and regulations.
A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
Mobile-based Construction Labor Services, Inc., has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Inspection of the Beltline Road job site was conducted by OSHA's area office located at 3737 Government Blvd., Building 1, Suite 100, Mobile, Ala., 36693; telephone: (334) 441-6131.
OSHA urges employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards to contact the Mobile area office. OSHA's toll-free nationwide hotline, 1-800-321-6742, (1-800-321-OSHA) may be used to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially if they occur outside normal business hours.