Region 4 News Release: 06-844-ATL (100)
Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Contact: Andre Richards Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (770) 984-8700 (404) 562-2076
OSHA Cites Suwanee, Ga., Company for Trenching Hazards at Atlanta Construction Site
ATLANTA -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Bengal Enterprises for exposing workers to trenching hazards at an Atlanta construction site. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $41,300.
"Safe trenching practices reduce worker injuries and deaths," said Andre Richards, OSHA's Atlanta-West area director. "Preventing these needless accidents is one of the goals of this agency."
To further this goal, OSHA, Metro Atlanta fire departments, Georgia Tech, the Georgia Utility Contractors Association Inc., and the Hispanic Contractors Association of Georgia formed the SAFE (Safety Awareness Facilitation Education) alliance which provides safe trenching educational and outreach services for companies engaged in trenching operations.
Richards explained that one of the SAFE alliance members advised Bengal of trenching hazards at a Prior Road and Ashwood Avenue site where they were installing sewer lines. When the company failed to take corrective action, OSHA was notified.
Following an inspection begun Jan. 31, 2006, OSHA issued one willful citation, with a proposed penalty of $35,000, for allowing employees to work in a ten-foot deep trench without proper cave-in protection. OSHA issues a willful citation when an employer has shown intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
OSHA issued one "repeat" citation, with a proposed penalty of $3,500, for failing to provide employees with a safe means of entering and exiting the trench. The company had been cited previously for a substantially similar condition and that citation has become a final order of the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Bengal also received two serious citations, with penalties totaling $2,800, for failing to ensure that employees wore hard hats and for failing to use retaining devices or keep excavated material and equipment at least two feet from the edge of trench walls.
The Suwanee-based company has 15 working days to contest the latest citations and proposed penalties before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Atlanta-West area office at 2400 Herodian Way, Suite 250, Smyrna, Ga. Phone: (770) 984-8700.
For more information about trenching safety and other safe work practices, visit www.osha.gov.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.
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