Tues., Nov. 6, 2007
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Kandey Co. Inc., a West Seneca, N.Y.¿based contractor, faces $51,700 in proposed fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following the discovery of an unguarded trench at a Clarence, N.Y., worksite.
On July 31, an OSHA inspector, passing by a water line excavation at 9217 Main St. and observing an apparently unprotected trench, opened an immediate inspection. OSHA found an employee working in a six-foot six-inch deep trench with near vertical walls that lacked adequate protection against a collapse of those walls onto the employees. OSHA standards require that employees working in excavations five feet or deeper be protected against cave-ins. Protection can include shoring walls, using a trench box or sloping walls at a shallow angle.
"This employee was lucky that no cave-in occurred because unguarded trench walls can collapse instantly before anyone has a chance to react or escape," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "However, safety must never be a matter of luck. Required safeguards must be in place and in use at all times."
As a result of OSHA's inspection, Kandey Co. was issued one willful citation, with a proposed fine of $49,000, for lack of cave-in protection, and two serious citations, carrying $2,700 in proposed fines, for exposing employees to the hazard of rocks and stones falling from the trench's face and for providing an exit ladder of inadequate length.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. 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. Agency inspectors who observe excavation hazards can and will stop work and open inspections on the spot. To help employers understand how to comply with regulations and protect employees, OSHA has posted a trenching "Quick Card," an interactive eTool and other detailed information on excavation safety on its Web site at www.osha.gov/SLTC/constructiontrenching/index.html.
Kandey Co. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office (telephone 716-551-3053).
OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting more than 39,000 inspections in fiscal year 2007 and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last eight years. In fiscal year 2007, OSHA found more than 89,000 violations of its standards and regulations.
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 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 upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. DOL 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.