July 29, 2008
Contact: Michael Wald
MOBILE, Ala. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing $48,000 in penalties against James R. Payne Inc. for four safety violations, including one willful violation. OSHA staff initiated the inspection as part of a national emphasis program on reducing injuries and fatalities related to trenching and excavation in the construction industry.
When OSHA compliance staff visited the construction site on Girby Road in Mobile, they found a protective trench box sitting unused, while employees worked in a trench that contained water. The company's failure to utilize equipment designed to protect employees is resulting in a $44,000 proposed penalty for a willful violation of OSHA standards. The agency defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
The agency is proposing $4,000 in penalties for two serious violations by the company: allowing employees to work in a trench with accumulated water without taking the proper precautions, and not initiating and maintaining a safety and health program.
An other-than-serious violation is being proposed for failing to properly maintain records at the jobsite.
"There is no excuse for endangering employees and ignoring OSHA standards by having the proper safety equipment at the worksite but not using it," said Clyde Payne, OSHA's acting area director in Mobile.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest them and the proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The sites were inspected by staff from OSHA's Mobile area office, 1141 Montlimar Drive, Suite 1006; telephone 251-441-6131.
OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting more than 39,000 inspections in fiscal year 2007 and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last eight years. In fiscal year 2007, OSHA found nearly 89,000 violations of its standards and regulations.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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