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OSHA News Release – Region 4
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 4 News Release ATL: 03-78
Thurs., April 17, 2003
Contact: Keven Yarbough Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (813) 626-1177 x 0 (404)562-2076
Workers to Trenching Hazards
Agency Proposes $46,750 in Penalties
TAMPA, Fla. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited MAJ Contracting, Inc. for exposing workers to trenching hazards at a Venice job site. The agency is proposing $46,750 in penalties.
OSHA began an inspection of the Auburn Road worksite on Jan. 20, after an inspector observed unprotected MAJ employees installing pipes in a trench approximately seven feet deep. According to the inspector, a trench box, which would have protected the workers, stood 50 feet from the excavation. The roadway was undermined, and about four feet of excavated material was piled at the edge of the trench, which had begun to accumulate water.
The agency's national emphasis program on trenching and excavation allowed for an immediate inspection.
"Cave-ins happen quickly and without warning. This employer placed workers at significant risk by failing to take basic precautions against a trench collapse," said Les Grove, OSHA's Tampa area director.
OSHA issued one willful citation with a proposed penalty of $42,000 for failing to use a trench box or other means to protect workers from cave-ins.
The company also received two serious safety violations with proposed penalties totaling $4,750 for allowing excavated soil to accumulate near the edge of the trench and allowing employees to work near an undermined roadway.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The company has 15 working days to contest OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The work site was inspected by OSHA's Tampa area office located at 5807 Breckenridge Pkwy; Suite A; telephone: (813) 626-1177.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration 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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