Nov. 21, 2006
Contact: Brad Mitchell
U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA Proposes $142,200 in Penalties
CINCINNATI -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $142,200 in fines against Larry Smith Contractors Inc., Cincinnati, for five alleged serious violations and three alleged willful violations of federal workplace safety and health standards.
OSHA opened an inspection in May 2006 after OSHA officials observed a deep trenching operation as part of a sewer replacement project. Willful citations with proposed penalties totaling $126,000 were issued against Larry Smith Contractors for exposing workers to potential cave-in hazards inside the 32-foot deep trench, failing to protect workers required to enter and work in a confined space, and failing to provide a means of exit from the excavation.
Serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $16,200 were issued against the company for hazards involving safety training deficiencies, failing to test for oxygen inside potentially hazardous atmospheres, failing to make emergency equipment readily available, an inadequate trench box, and failing to protect workers from equipment that could fall or roll into excavations.
"Any one of these violations has the potential to cause serious harm or death to workers," said OSHA Area Director Richard Gilgrist. "Finding hazards and insisting they be corrected are among the best services we can perform for working men and women."
Larry Smith Contractors had been inspected on 13 previous occasions beginning in 1990, with a number of violations involving trenching. The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, 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 working men and women 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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