US Labor Department's OSHA fines Conyers, Ga., construction company
$42,000 for exposing workers to cave-in hazards
ATLANTA – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Latex Construction Co. Inc. of Conyers, Ga., for failing to provide its employees with protection against cave-ins while working in a trench. The violations occurred while the company laid 12 miles of natural gas pipe in a trench along Old National Highway in Atlanta. Proposed penalties total $42,000.
OSHA issued the company one repeat citation with a $35,000 penalty alleging that it failed to provide cave-in protection in a trench approximately 150 feet long, 17 feet wide and 7 feet deep. Without adequate protection, such as a trench box, workers can be crushed or completely engulfed by cave-ins or when trench walls otherwise collapse. Fatalities or serous injuries can occur.
"This employer is aware of OSHA's requirements but left the workers unprotected," said Andre Richards, director of OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office. "Being irresponsible about workers' safety is unacceptable, and OSHA will not tolerate it."
A repeat citation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Latex Construction was cited for the same violation while performing work in Florida in 2007.
OSHA also issued the company one serious citation with a $7,000 penalty alleging that it failed to provide a ladder for escaping a trench within 25 feet of those working in an excavation. A serious citation is issued 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.
Detailed information about excavation hazards and safeguards is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Atlanta-West office, 2400 Herodian Way, Suite 250, Smyrna, Ga. 30080; telephone 770-984-8700.
To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (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 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.