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OSHA News Release
Region 7

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Region 7 News Release: OSHA 07-1831-KAN
Friday, Dec. 14, 2007
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
Phone: 303-844-1302

U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA cites Midlands Contracting Inc. for excavation hazards following fatality at excavation worksite
Agency proposes $140,000 in penalties

KEARNEY, Neb. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Midlands Contracting Inc. of Kearney for two alleged willful violations of federal health and safety standards following a worker fatality at a Kearney excavation worksite. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $140,000.

OSHA initiated its inspection June 20 after an employee was buried by a collapsed excavation wall at a sewage lift station installation site. The excavation contracting company performs work primarily on sewer systems.

"Our inspection revealed that there was no shielding, shoring or benching in use in the excavation where the victim was working," said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "Employers must remain committed to keeping the workplace safe at all times."

The cited willful violations address hazards associated with undermined and unsupported adjacent structures, failure to provide adequate cave-in protection, use of an incomplete engineered design for sloping and shielding, and not maintaining a copy of the engineered design at the work location while the sloping and shielding system was being constructed. Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

Midlands Contracting Inc. has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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 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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