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Region 4 News Release ATL: 03-26
Thurs., Feb. 20, 2003
Contact: Andre Richards Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (770)984-8700 x 0 (404)562-2076
ATLANTA, Ga. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Reynolds, Inc. for failing to protect workers from a potential trench collapse at a Cobb Parkway South construction site. The agency fined the Orleans, Indiana-based company $77,500.
OSHA began an inspection of the Cobb Parkway site after employees were observed installing a waterline in a six-foot-deep, unprotected trench.
"OSHA takes trenching hazards very seriously, particularly in the Southeast where excavation collapse causes numerous injuries and deaths," said Andre Richards, OSHA's Atlanta-West area director. "This employer had a trench box available on site, but did not use it to protect workers in the trench."
Reynolds was cited for three repeat violations for exposing workers to potential cave-in by failing to slope or shore the trench or provide other protection, such as a trench box; allowing excavated material to accumulate too close to the edge of the excavation, and failing to have a competent person on-site to ensure the safety of workers in the trench. With an accompanying fine of $75,000, these repeat violations accounted for most of the penalties assessed.
The remaining penalty of $2,500 was proposed for a serious violation for failing to instruct employees on recognition of unsafe conditions and the proper steps to take upon entering an excavation greater than five feet deep.
OSHA has a national emphasis program that allows staff to inspect any trench or excavation that appears hazardous. The national program also includes a separate compliance assistance arm to help employers and workers recognize and reduce trenching hazards.
Reynolds, Inc. employed six workers at the Cobb County site and about 648 nationally. The company has been cited for similar trenching violations on numerous occasions, the most recent of which was June 2, 2002; those citations were upheld by the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC). The company has 15 working days to contest the latest OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the OSHRC.
Inspection of the worksite was conducted by OSHA's Atlanta-West area office at 2400 Herodian Way, Suite 250, Smyrna, Ga.; telephone: 770-984-8700. OSHA is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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