US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Georgia contractor
with willful, serious trenching and excavation violations
CARROLLTON, Ga. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited George Grading and Hauling Inc. of Franklin, Ga., for willfully exposing a worker to being trapped and buried by a trench collapse and serious safety hazards. The storm and sewer drain construction company faces $64,750 in penalties.
In September 2010, as part of OSHA's National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation, a compliance officer observed several violations at a worksite on Newnan Street in Carrollton, where the company was installing pipe in a deep excavation.
OSHA issued a willful citation to the company alleging it allowed a worker in a deep trench without cave-in protection. A willful violation is one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. The proposed penalty is $49,000.
The company also was issued five serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $15,750. OSHA alleges that the company allowed employees to work in a trench with overhead hazards without wearing personal protective equipment, did not supply workers with a safe means of exit from the trench, exposed a worker to struck-by hazards by allowing an employee in the trench too close to materials overhead, allowed materials to be placed too close to the edge of the trench so they were liable to roll back into the excavation, and did not inspect the trench to identify and correct struck-by hazards. 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.
"Allowing people to work in a trench without proper protections in place invites injury or death. Employers must take steps to ensure the safety of their workers," said Andre Richards, director of the OSHA Atlanta-West Area Office.
OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/construction.html.
The company 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. The site was inspected by OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office, which can be contacted at 770-984-8700. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA'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.