US Labor Department's OSHA fines Chicago-area contractor nearly
$123,000 for failing to provide trench cave-in protection for workers
SCHAMBURG, Ill. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued A. Lamp Concrete Contractors Inc., a road building contractor in Schamburg that engages in concrete and underground construction, one willful, one serious and two repeat safety citations for failing to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations at a jobsite in Morton Grove. The company faces proposed penalties of $122,960.
"Cave-ins are a leading cause of worker fatalities during excavations," said Diane Turek, OSHA's area director in Des Plaines. "A. Lamp Concrete Contractors has shown blatant disregard for OSHA's regulations by failing to implement safety procedures at its jobsites. OSHA is committed to protecting workers when employers fail to do so."
The willful citation, with a proposed penalty of $69,300, alleges that employees were working in a trench at a depth greater than 7 feet without cave-in protection during an inspection on Oct. 4, 2010. A trench box that would protect workers was located near the site but not installed. A willful violation exists when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
Based on the October inspection, the company was issued a repeat citation with a penalty of $29,700 for failing to provide a safe means of access and egress for employees working in an excavation. The company received an additional repeat citation with a proposed penalty of $20,000 based on an inspection that occurred Sept. 7, 2010. In September, OSHA inspectors observed workers in a trench at a depth greater than 9 feet without adequate cave-in protection, as shoring had been partially installed but did not meet OSHA requirements. A repeat citation is issued 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.
The serious citation with a proposed penalty of $3,960 was issued for failing to provide hardhats for employees exposed to overhead hazards. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Both inspections were conducted under OSHA's national emphasis program on trenching and excavation. The company has been inspected by OSHA 12 times since 1999, resulting in 13 citations, including six prior citations for lack of cave-in protection at various worksites.
OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards, adopted by OSHA in the 1980s, is available on the agency's website at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
A. Lamp Concrete Contractors has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Chicago North Area Office at 847-803-4800. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
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 http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. 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.