Region 4 News Release: 12-1814-ATL
Sept. 20, 2012
Contact: Michael D'Aquino
US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Atlanta utility contractor for willful
and serious safety violations, proposes more than $43,000 in penalties
DONALSONVILLE, Ga. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited J.J.E. Constructors Inc. of Alpharetta with one willful and two serious safety violations for exposing employees to trenching hazards while installing new storm and sewer lines on South Wiley and West First Streets in Donalsonville. After receiving a complaint alleging hazards, OSHA initiated an inspection in March as part of the agency's national emphasis program to reduce injuries at trenching and excavation construction sites. Proposed penalties total $43,400.
The willful violation involves exposing employees to struck-by and cave-in hazards by not using a protective shoring system. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
The serious violations involve exposing workers to entrapment, struck-by and cave-in hazards by not providing a ladder to enter and exit the excavation, and allowing equipment and debris to be placed within 2 feet of the trench. A serious violation occurs 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.
"This employer knowingly did not use a protective system at the work site, and therefore exposed employees to potential cave-in hazards," said Robert Vazzi, OSHA's area director in Savannah.
Additional information on the dangers associated with trenching and excavation is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/construction/trenching/mainpage.html.
J.J.E. Constructors has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal 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.
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 or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-893-7828 or TTY 202-893-7755.