US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Pipeline Industries for exposing
workers to trenching hazards in Wheat Ridge and Colorado Springs, Colo.
GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Greenwood Village-based Pipeline Industries Inc. with seven safety violations for exposing workers to cave-in hazards at excavation work sites in Wheat Ridge and Colorado Springs. Proposed penalties total $180,180.
OSHA's Englewood Area Office opened an investigation at a Garland Street work site in Wheat Ridge on Aug. 30 and a second investigation on Sept. 8 at a North Murray Boulevard site in Colorado Springs, following reports that workers were installing sewer pipes without adequate protection from possible cave-ins.
Two willful violations include failing to install the required cave-in protection and provide a competent person to remove workers from recognized hazardous conditions. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.
Two serious violations include failing to maintain specific data for the shoring system in use, and to provide a safe means of access and egress from the trench. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Three repeat violations involve failing to ensure the spoil pile was placed at least 2 feet from the edge of the trench at each work site and to repair damaged ladders. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, or rule at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Similar violations were cited in 2010 at a Denver work site.
"A trench can quickly become a grave when an employer fails to protect workers from a trenching or excavation cave-in," said David Nelson, area director of OSHA's Englewood office. "The hazards discovered during these inspections are well recognized within the industry, yet this employer chose to put workers in harm's way."
OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/PipelineCitations.pdf.*
Pipeline Industries, which provides repair and replacement services for sewer, water and storm lines, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Englewood Area Office or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Englewood office at 303-843-4500.
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 ensure 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.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.