Region 3 News Release: USDL: III-00-03-15-020-PA
Wed., Mar. 15, 2000
Contact: Leni Uddyback
PHONE: OFFICE: (215) 861-5102
OSHA CITES MONACA, PA COMPANY FOR ALLEGED SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS; CITES UNSAFE TRENCH
The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration today cited Samaras Construction, Inc., for alleged safety and health violations, and proposed a total of $130,650 in penalties. Samaras is a sewer line construction company located in Monaca, Pa. employing approximately 10 workers.
The investigation was initiated on October 1, 1999 in response to a complaint of unsafe working conditions made when the company was installing approximately three miles of sewer lines for the Town of Cherry Hill, Pa. It was alleged that employees were working in unsloped excavations between 10 and 12 feet deep.
According to Robert Szymanski, area director for the Pittsburgh OSHA office, citations were issued for three willful violations, with a proposed penalty of $117,000, one serious violation with a proposed penalty of $1,750; two repeat violations with a proposed penalty of $11,900; and two other-than serious violations, which carry no penalty.
The willful violations allege that the company failed to provide proper cave-in protection and failed to keep excavated materials at least two feet from the edge of the trench. The serious violation relates to the company's use of defective trenching equipment.
The repeat violations include failure to wear protective helmets and failure to provide workers with an exit from the excavation. The other-than-serious violations relate to the company's use of a defective ladder and its lack of manufacturer's data for the excavation
"The OSHA standards blatantly ignored by Samaras Construction, Inc. are critical to worker protection on excavation projects," says Symanski, "By shoring or sloping a trench, a company drastically reduces the chance of an accident on the job."
OSHA is making an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of unprotected trenches in its "Dig Trenches, Not Graves" media campaign in Pennsylvania and throughout the rest of the region.
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and OSHA regulations. A serious violation includes a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The firm has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to either decide to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupations Safety and Heath Review Commission.
This inspection was conducted by the Pittsburgh Area Office, Federal Building-Room 1428, 1000 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pa., (412) 395-4903.
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