Wed., Aug. 20, 2008
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Alexis Construction faces over $25,000 in fines for unprotected excavation
CONCORD, N.H. - An unprotected excavation at a Manchester, N.H., worksite has resulted in $25,350 in proposed fines for a Manchester contractor. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Alexis Construction Co. LLC for alleged willful and serious violations of excavation safety standards after OSHA inspectors observed a company employee working in an unprotected excavation located in front of 32 N. Main St.
OSHA's inspection found that the vertical sidewalls of the six to seven-foot-deep excavation were not sloped, shored or otherwise protected against a collapse that could crush and bury anyone working in the excavation. OSHA standards require that all excavations five feet or deeper be guarded against cave-in hazards.
"The possibility of a cave-in resulting in death or disabling injury was real and present," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's area director for New Hampshire. "A cave-in is swift, fierce and overwhelming and can turn an excavation into a burial ground in seconds. No employee should enter and work in an excavation until it is properly guarded against collapse."
Specifically, OSHA issued the company one willful citation, proposing a $21,000 fine, for the lack of cave-in protection. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
The company was also issued three serious citations, with $4,350 in proposed fines, for not having a competent person on site to remove employees from the cave-in hazard; not providing a safe means of access between the excavations's upper and lower sections; and not removing curbing under which employees passed. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Excavation safety is an OSHA priority. Under OSHA's National Emphasis Program, agency inspectors will stop and open an inspection on the spot when they observe employees working in unprotected excavations, as happened in this case. Detailed information on excavation and trenching safety, including an interactive e-Tool, is also available on OSHA's Web site at www.osha.gov/SLTC/constructiontrenching/index.html.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to meet with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Concord Area Office; telephone 603-225-1629.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.