US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Trenton, NJ, construction
company for safety hazards at Princeton bridge work site
TRENTON, N.J. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Trenton-based IEW Construction Group Inc. for 12 commercial diving and other serious safety violations found while the company was doing repair work on the Alexander Road Bridge in Princeton. OSHA initiated an investigation under its National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation and a Local Emphasis Program on Bridge and Tunnel Construction. Proposed penalties total $83,160.
The violations include employee exposure to "struck-by" and disorientation hazards when umbilical cables, which supply breathing gas and other services from a surface supply to a diver, were not clearly marked. They also include the company's failure to instruct employees in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions such as, but not limited to, struck-by and diving hazards; provide employees with a safe practice manual for diving; provide employees with decompression tables at a dive location; test air compressor systems every six months; provide depth gauges at the work site; and ensure employees performing modifications and additions on equipment recorded dates and the nature of their work. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
"This company failed to meet OSHA's commercial diving operations standards and put its workers at risk of serious hazards, including drowning, hypothermia, and circulatory and respiratory problems," said Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA's Marlton Area Office. "All employers, especially those engaged in high-hazard activities such as diving, must provide a safe working environment for their employees."
IEW Construction Group Inc., a heavy highway construction company, employed about five workers at the Princeton bridge site.
Detailed information on trenching and excavation safety is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html. The IEW Construction Group Inc. citations are available at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/IEWConstruction0901_11.pdf*.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Marlton or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Marlton office; telephone: 856-596-5200.
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 ensure 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.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.