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OSHA News Release
Region 4

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Region 4 News Release: 07-1413-ATL (251)
Sept. 24, 2007
Contact: Dan Fuqua Michael Wald
Phone: (404) 562-2078 (404) 562-2076

U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA proposes $58,800 in fines against Gainesville, Ga.-based Dutton Grading for safety violations at Atlanta site

ATLANTA -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed penalties of $58,800 against Dutton Grading of Gainesville, Ga., for four alleged safety violations. The inspection occurred at a company worksite in southwest Atlanta as part of OSHA's National Emphasis Program on trenching and excavation, one of the most hazardous operations in construction.

"Trench cave-ins occur quickly with little time for employees to react and often with deadly results," said Andre Richards, director of OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office. "OSHA treats this problem as serious, and employers who continue to ignore safety standards will face increasingly stiffer penalties."

OSHA issued one willful violation with a penalty of $40,000 for allowing employees to work in a trench that was improperly sloped and lacked a protective system. OSHA issues a willful citation when an employer has shown an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

OSHA issued two repeat violations with penalties of $16,000 for failing to train employees on trenching and excavation hazards and failing to provide a ladder or other means for employees to climb out of the trench should a cave-in occur.

The agency also issued a serious violation with a $2,800 penalty for placing a spoil pile at the edge of the trench that could allow material to fall or roll back into the trench and onto employees.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to contest them and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office, 2400 Herodian Way, Suite 250, Smyrna, Ga.; telephone (770) 984-8700.

OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting more than 38,000 inspections last year and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last seven years. In fiscal year 2006, OSHA found nearly 84,000 violations of its standards and regulations.

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 assure 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


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