US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Woodbury, Ga.-based
Jones General Contracting with trenching violations; fines exceed $40,000
JACKSON, Ga. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued 10 serious citations against Jones General Contracting LLC, based in Woodbury, for violations found at a water line installation site in Jackson. OSHA began an inspection in October after receiving a complaint about safety conditions in trenches being dug to install pipes. Proposed penalties total $40,200.
The violations including failing to remove employees working beneath a suspended load of pipe that was being moved by an excavator, provide required safety equipment, join trench boxes, install spreader bars, provide a professional engineer to evaluate a support system being used to prevent cave-ins in a trench 20 feet or more deep, remove equipment within 2 feet of the trench edge, train workers to recognize hazards while working at an excavation site and provide a windshield for an excavator being operated.
Additionally the employer allowed employees to work in a trench outside of the protective trench boxes, including work in a 17-foot-deep trench that lacked a protective system; workers to be transported on the front steps of a front end loader between sites; the operation of an excavator within 5 feet of an overhead power line and workers to use a broken wire rope to pull a fuel tank between construction sites.
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.
"Contractors have a responsibility to follow established safety standards and ensure that workers are properly trained and protected from hazards," said William Fulcher, director of the agency's Atlanta-East Area Office. "While it is an employer's responsibility to protect its workers, OSHA will not hesitate to step in when an employer fails to do so."
OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available on OSHA's Web site at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
Jones General Contracting has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report 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 Atlanta-East Area Office at 770-493-6644.
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.