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OSHA News Release
Region 4

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Region 4 News Release: 07-1427-ATL (254)
Sept. 26, 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 -- John Romines, which does business as S.A.M. Grading & Pipeline Inc., faces $129,500 in proposed penalties from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for several alleged safety violations.

OSHA's inspection occurred after a building inspector notified the agency about safety hazards at a Rome, Ga., trenching site and the company's owner ignored his requests to correct them. The inspector, who had attended an OSHA multi-day course on trenching and excavation, was familiar with the agency's requirements for sloping, shoring and benching.

"This employer failed to heed the building inspector's warnings and continued to expose employees to trenching hazards," said Andre Richards, director of OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office. "Trenching remains one of the most hazardous jobs in construction, and employers who ignore OSHA's regulations can expect significant penalties."

Three willful violations, with proposed penalties of $115,500, were issued for not providing a safe means of egress from a trench, not keeping material at least two feet from the trench edge, and exposing employees to potential cave-in hazards. 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.

The company also was issued four serious safety violations, with proposed penalties of $14,000, for not properly training employees, not requiring employees to wear head protection, not using fall protection while using a work board over a deep trench, and not protecting employees from being struck by large rocks.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to contest them and the 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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