Sept. 4, 2008
Contact: Michael Wald
Mount Airy, N.C.-based electrical contractor fined after trench collapse
MOBILE, Ala. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing $63,000 in penalties against Pike Electric Inc. for violations found at a site the company was excavating in Mobile.
An employee working in a trench suffered severe injuries when the near-vertical walls of the excavation collapsed on him, partially engulfing him in dirt.
"Pike Electric has lots of experience in trenching, but the company's management still failed to take basic preventative measures that could have saved this employee from harm," said Clyde Payne, OSHA's interim area director in Mobile.
OSHA is proposing a $56,000 penalty against the company for willfully failing to protect employees from cave-ins by an adequate protective system. The agency defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
One serious safety violation with a $7,000 penalty is being issued to the company for failing to protect employees from materials falling or rolling into the excavation.
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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