Region 5 News Release: 06-426-chi
April 3, 2006
Contact: Brad Mitchell
Bloomington, Ill. Construction Firm Fined $197,500 For Exposing Workers to Potential Trench Cave-In
PEORIA, Ill. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $197,500 in fines against R.A. Cullinan and Son, Inc., Bloomington, Ill. following an inspection at an excavation site where workers were exposed to potentially deadly trench cave-ins.
OSHA issued citations for alleged serious and willful violations of federal workplace safety standards including willful citations for the lack of cave-in protection at two trenches located in the vicinity of Lee and Olive streets in Bloomington, and for placing backfill and other materials too close to the edge of a trench. A serious citation alleged that the company did not protect employees from being injured in the swing radius of a backhoe. OSHA opened an inspection in October 2005 after noticing an unprotected trench.
"Any one of these violations has the potential to cause serious harm, even death, to workers," said OSHA Area Director John Newquist, Peoria. "Trenching remains one of the most hazardous jobs in construction if proper safety procedures are not followed. When employers shirk their responsibility to keep the workplace safe, the results can be tragic for workers and their families."
R.A. Cullinan and Son, Inc. has an inspection history involving trenching violations dating back to 1986, including numerous violations cited. The company employs as many as 300 workers during the height of the construction season.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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 workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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