Date: Monday, November 13, 2006
Contact: Keith Hass Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (770) 493-6644 (404) 562-2076
ATLANTA -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Hall's Trenching and proposed penalties totaling $40,100, for allegedly exposing workers to trenching hazards at a Covington, Ga., work site where water lines were being installed.
"Fortunately, this work site was inspected and hazards abated before a tragedy occurred," said Gei-Thae Breezley, OSHA's Atlanta-East area director. "Too often, employers focus on finishing a job quickly instead of finishing a job safely. Employers must protect employees working in this hazardous industry."
OSHA issued one willful citation to the company, with a proposed penalty of $35,000, for allowing employees to work in a trench over seven feet deep without a cave-in protection 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 May 31 inspection also resulted in the company receiving four serious citations, with proposed penalties totaling $5,100, for failing to provide workers with a safe means of entering and exiting the trench; allowing excavated material to accumulate at the edge of the trench wall; and for lacking a safety and health program and employee training. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
OSHA has an alliance with the Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia businesses across the state to promote trench safety through training and education efforts. The agency also has a separate special emphasis program to reduce trenching hazards through strong enforcement. Cave-ins are a leading cause of worker death and injury in the state.
Hall's Trenching, based in Mansfield, Ga., has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Atlanta-East area office located at LaVista Perimeter Office Park, Bldg. 7, Suite 110, Tucker, Ga, phone: (770) 493-6644.
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 about trenching safety and other safe work practices, visit www.osha.gov.
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