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U.S. Department of Labor | Feb. 9, 2016

Morris County contractor ignored municipal safety concern,
willfully exposed workers to dangers of possible trench cave-in

Employer name: Yannuzzi Group Inc., 135 Kinnelon Road, Kinnelon, New Jersey

Site: Calais Road and Sussex Turnpike, Randolph, New Jersey

Citations issued: On Feb. 4, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Parsippany Area Office issued citations for one willful and one serious violation.

Investigation findings: OSHA's investigation began Oct. 30, 2015, after a complaint alleged an imminent danger situation of workers in an 8-foot deep trench with no protective system.

OSHA investigators learned that earlier in the day, prior to the agency's inspection, a Randolph Township Division of Sewer and Water employee delivered trench protection to the Yannuzzi Group after observing the company employees working in the trench without safety protection. However, the company chose not to use it. OSHA inspectors confirmed Yannuzzi failed to use an adequate protective system to prevent its workers from being injured if the trench caved-in, resulting in the willful citation.

The serious citation involved excavated materials placed too close to the edge of the excavation.

The employer has 15 business days from receipt of the citation and proposed penalty to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Background: OSHA reports that two workers die in trench collapses each month. A cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as 3,000 lbs., the equivalent of a small automobile.

Proposed penalty: $58,800

Quote: "Randolph Township provided trench protection at the job site, yet Yannuzzi Group deliberately decided not to use it. The company's action is intolerable. Yannuzzi needlessly jeopardized worker safety by choosing not to implement basic measures to prevent cave-ins," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office. "The fatality rate for excavation work is 112 percent higher than the rate for general construction. Trench protection systems are more than a required OSHA safety standard; they are a matter of life and death."

View the citations:*

To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint; or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Parsippany Area Office at 973-263-1003.

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Media Contacts:

Joanna Hawkins, 215-861-5101,
Leni Fortson, 215-861-5102,

Release Number: 16-98-NEW (OSHA 16-015 Yannuzzi)

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