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Region 5 News Release: 11-1783-CHI
Jan. 5, 2012
Contact: Scott Allen Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6976 312-353-6976


US Department of Labor's OSHA cites McHugh Excavating & Plumbing
for failing to protect workers from trench collapse at Madison, Wis., job site

ONALASKA, Wis. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited McHugh Excavating & Plumbing Inc. of Onalaska for one willful and one repeat safety violation for failing to protect workers from trench cave-ins at a job site in Madison. Proposed penalties total $64,450.

"McHugh Excavating & Plumbing has the responsibility of ensuring that its employees are properly protected from known workplace hazards such as trench cave-ins," said Kim Stille, OSHA's area director in Madison. "OSHA is committed to protecting workers, especially when employers fail to do so."

OSHA's inspection was conducted under the agency's National Emphasis Program for Trenching and Excavation. The willful violation involves failing to provide cave-in protection to workers installing sewer lines in a trench approximately 6 feet deep. 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 repeat violation involves failing to provide a competent person to conduct an inspection of the trench's protective system to prevent cave-in hazards. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. McHugh Excavating was cited for this violation at a job site in Madison in November 2008 and at a site in New Glarus in May 2009.

OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available at

McHugh Excavating & Plumbing has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and 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 Madison Area Office at 608-441-5388.

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


U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.