Region 2 News Release: 10-1119-NEW/BOS 2010-355
Wed., Aug. 18, 2010
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA proposes $49,000 in fines against Albany, NY,
contractor Peter Luizzi & Brothers for cave-in hazard at Cohoes, NY, worksite
ALBANY, N.Y. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Peter Luizzi & Brothers Contracting Inc. of Albany, N.Y., for an alleged willful violation of excavation safety standards at a worksite in Cohoes, N.Y.
OSHA inspectors passing by a worksite at Villet Street and Hamilton Place observed a worker installing a water main in an apparently unprotected 6-foot-6-inch deep trench. An inspection was opened on the spot and OSHA found that the trench lacked protection against a potential collapse of its walls.
As a result, OSHA has issued the company one willful citation, carrying a proposed fine of $49,000, for the unprotected trench. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
"You cannot overstate the gravity of this hazard," said Edward Jerome, OSHA's area director in Albany. "A cave-in can occur in seconds, crushing and burying workers beneath soil and debris before they can react or escape. Employers know that a trench must have effective cave-in protection in place every time workers enter it. Failing to provide protection could result in swift and serious injury or death for trench workers."
Detailed information on trenching hazards and safeguards is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
"One means of preventing hazards such as this one is for employers to establish an effective, comprehensive workplace safety and health program in which their workers take a continuous and active role in evaluating, identifying and eliminating hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
Peter Luizzi & Brothers Contracting has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Albany Area Office, telephone 518-464-4338. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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