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OSHA News Release
Region 6

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Region 6 News Release: OSHA-06-668-DAL
Thursday April 13, 2006
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222 or 221

OSHA Fines North Little Rock Construction Company $141,700 for Alleged Trenching and Excavation Hazards

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Alleged failure to protect employees from potential trenching and excavation hazards has brought Co-Bar Contracting Inc., North Little Rock, Ark., $141,700 in proposed penalties from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Co-Bar Contracting was cited for three willful, eight serious, one repeat and two other-than-serious violations following three OSHA inspections in Bigelow, North Little Rock and Maumelle, Ark., in October and November. The company, which installs water, sewer and utility lines, employs about 30 workers statewide. About five employees work at each of these three locations. The inspections are part of OSHA's national emphasis program aimed at preventing excavation and trenching accidents.

"Every worker has the right to a safe and healthful workplace," said Paul Hansen, OSHA's area director in Little Rock. "The significant penalty of almost $142,000 in this case demonstrates OSHA's commitment to preventing trenching accidents and other safety hazards."

The three willful violations cited by OSHA included failure to provide a safe means of egress from the excavation or trench, failure to protect workers from falling material or equipment, and failure to adequately protect employees in the event of a cave-in. OSHA issues a willful citation where there is evidence of intentional violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act or plain indifference to its requirements.

The eight serious citations included failure to: instruct employees on the hazards of working in excavations and trenches; protect employees from being struck by falling rock or soil; develop a protective system for excavation sites more than 20 feet deep, and provide a competent person on-site in the event of a cave-in. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

OSHA issued a repeat citation because the company failed to comply with sloping and benching requirements, a hazard which the agency had cited previously. The remaining two other-than-serious violations were issued for failing to properly record work-related injuries and illnesses and not completing an incident report on each work-related injury or illness.

Co-Bar Contracting has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to request an informal conference with the Little Rock OSHA area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Little Rock area office at (501) 224-1841 or may contact OSHA's toll-free hotline number, 1-800-321-6742, to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers.

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

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