May 6, 2015
DHC Contracting knowingly put workers at risk of
trench collapse hazards at Guyton, Georgia work site
Employer name: James Marlowe, doing business as DHC Contracting, Statesboro, Georgia
Inspection site: At the time of the inspection, workers were installing a replacement manhole at the South Effingham Waste Water Effluent Pump Station on Hodgeville Road, Guyton, Georgia 31312
Date inspection initiated: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiated the Oct. 29, 2014, inspection as part of the agency's National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation. OSHA inspectors were driving by the excavation when they observed an unprotected trench that could collapse and trap the workers.
Inspection findings: OSHA issued the employer one willful citation for allowing employees to work in an excavation without cave-in protection. OSHA requires that all trenches and excavation sites 5-feet or deeper be protected against sidewall collapses. Protection may be provided through shoring of trench walls, sloping of the soil at a shallow angle or by using a protective trench box. Additionally, three serious citations were issued for failing to provide a safe entrance and exit from the trench, not requiring employees to wear head protection while working in a trench where falling objects could result in injury and allowing employees to use a chop saw to cut concrete without wearing proper eye protection.
Quote: "James Marlowe was at the work site watching his employees work in an unprotected excavation and recognized the hazardous condition that existed, but didn't take action to protect them from being engulfed and crushed by a wall collapse," said Robert Vazzi, OSHA's area director in Savannah. "For an employer to knowingly disregard the lives of their workers is unconscionable."
Proposed penalties: $57,900
The citations can be viewed at: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/osha/OSHA20150768fs.pdf
DHC Contracting has 15 business days from receipt of its 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 Savannah Area Office at 912-652-4393.
# # #
Release Number: 15-768-ATL (137)
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).