Region 5 News Release: 09-931-CHI
Aug. 11, 2009
Contact: Brad Mitchell or Scott Allen
U.S. Labor Department's OSHA levies fines against A-1 Excavating following New Richmond, Wis., fatality
BLOOMER, Wis. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited A-1 Excavating Inc. in Bloomer with one willful and four serious violations of federal workplace safety standards following the death of a worker.
OSHA began its investigation in April when a worker was fatally lacerated while cutting pipe in a trench at a worksite in New Richmond, Wis. The investigation revealed hazards cited as serious for failure to maintain equipment in a safe condition, failure to provide safe egress from a trench, failure to provide training and the unsafe operation of equipment near or under overhead power lines. 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.
The willful citation was for failing to protect workers in an excavation from cave-ins. A willful citation is issued when an employer knew the hazard existed and failed to correct it.
"A-1 Excavating has been inspected at various Wisconsin worksites 33 times since 1982 and has received 44 citations," said OSHA Area Director Mark Hysell in Eau Claire, Wis. "It's long past time that A-1 Excavating make a serious commitment to making certain their workers go home safe at the end of every shift."
Hysell added that in February, OSHA issued this company $693,000 in penalties for 11 willful violations of federal trenching standards, which A-1 Excavating is contesting before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The company, with current proposed penalties totaling $98,000, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.