US Labor Department's OSHA fines R. A. Cullinan and Son Inc.
more than $71,000 for failure to provide cave-in protection for workers
TREMONT, Ill. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited highway construction company R. A. Cullinan and Son Inc. in Tremont, Ill., a division of United Contractors Midwest Inc., with one alleged willful and two serious alleged safety violations, including allowing workers to perform trenching and excavation work at depths of up to 8 feet without cave-in protection. The citations carry total penalties of $71,550.
"Cave-in accidents are a leading cause of worker fatalities during excavations. At the time of the inspection, members of R. A. Cullinan and Son's management team permitted employees to be exposed to serious safety hazardous," said OSHA Area Director Nick Walter. "This simply is unacceptable and we will do all we can to protect workers by enforcing OSHA regulations."
OSHA's inspection, initiated in April, cited R. A. Cullinan and Son with one alleged willful violation for failing to provide cave-in protection for workers performing trenching and excavation work in Tazewell County, Ill. Cave-in protection is required when employees are working in an excavation at a depth greater than 5 feet. The violation has a proposed fine of $63,000. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
Additionally, the company was issued two serious violations with proposed penalties of $8,550 for failing to provide a means of egress within 25 feet of employees working in an excavation and failing to barricade the swing radius of an excavator. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm can result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.
The company was also inspected by OSHA in 2006, resulting in two serious citations for failing to protect workers in trenching operations, and in 2005, when two willful violations were issued for failing to protect workers from cave-in hazards while performing trenching operations.
OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available on OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its latest 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 report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742.
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 assure 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.
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