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OSHA News Release
Region 5

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Region 5 News Release: 08-1217-CHI
Sept. 5, 2008
Contact: Brad Mitchell or Scott Allen
Phone: 312-353-6976

U.S. Labor Department's OSHA cites Benton, Ill., excavator following investigation into deaths of two employees in Millstadt, Ill.

BENTON, Ill. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Midwest Petroleum and Excavating Inc. in Benton for alleged willful and serious violations of federal workplace safety standards.

In March, OSHA opened an inspection at an excavation jobsite in Millstadt, Ill., following notification of the deaths of two employees when a trench in which they were working caved in on them. OSHA issued one willful citation to the company for failing to provide a protective system in the open trench to protect employees from cave-in hazards.

OSHA also issued the company two serious citations for failing to instruct and train its employees in the safety regulations and requirements involving excavations and for failing to ensure that the trench was inspected daily by a competent person.

"It has long been known that cave-in fatalities are entirely preventable," said Nick Walters, area director of OSHA's district office in Fairview Heights, Ill. "Any employer who is involved in trenching and excavation can avoid such terrible tragedies by following OSHA's clear regulations."

The citations carry a proposed $11,200 in fines.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Detailed information on trenching and excavation safety, including an interactive e-Tool, is available on OSHA's Web site at

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote 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, visit


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