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OSHA News Release
Region 4

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Region 4 News Release: 06-1697-ATL (238)
Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Contact: John Deifer Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (912) 652-4393 (404) 562-2076

U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA Cites Alabama Company Following Fatality Investigation at Gulfport, Miss., Excavation Site

JACKSON, Miss. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Big Warrior Corp. of Cleveland, Ala., and proposed penalties totaling $78,100, following the investigation of a fatal trench collapse at a work site in Gulfport, Miss.

"This company disregarded its own safety manual requirements and federal safety regulations, with tragic results," said Clyde Payne, OSHA's Jackson, Miss., area director.

On April 27, three Big Warrior Corp. employees were digging under a 54-inch storm sewer when a section of the trench wall collapsed, trapping one worker, who died.

The agency issued one willful citation with a proposed penalty of $56,000 alleging that the employer permitted employees to work in an 8- to 10-foot-deep trench with vertical side walls that were not sloped, shored or supported by the use of a trench box or other 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 and regulations.

The company also received seven serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $22,100. Alleged violations included the following: failing to provide a safe means of entering and exiting the 125-foot-long, 65-inch-wide excavation; lack of safety training for employees working in the trench and performing traffic-control duties; placing excavated materials too close to the edge of the trench; and failing to conduct soil analysis. Serious citations are issued when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazards.

The company has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Jackson area office, located in the Homer Lee Howie Building, 3780 Interstate 55 North, Suite 210, phone (601) 965-4606.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace 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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