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Region 6 News Release:   OSHA-04-691-DAzL
Fri, April 16, 2004
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222 or 221


OSHA Proposes $111,000 in Penalties Against Fort Smith Construction Company

FORT SMITH, Ark. -- The alleged failure of Garney Construction Inc. to protect employees from trenching and other job-related hazards has resulted in citations and proposed penalties for serious and repeated violations of safety standards from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

"To ensure that injury and illness rates continue to decline, we must make sure that employers protect employees from workplace hazards, " said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The significant penalty of $111,000 in this case demonstrates the Administration's commitment to protecting the health and safety of American workers."

OSHA cited Garney Construction, which installs water, sewer and utility lines, following an inspection by the agency's Little Rock district office that began Oct. 15 as part of a national emphasis program aimed at preventing trenching and excavation accidents. Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., the company employs about 450 workers nationwide. About 13 were working at the Fort Smith site.

Four alleged serious violations included failing to provide fire extinguishers within 75-feet of a fuel dispensing unit; failing to ensure that hazardous equipment was properly guarded; failing to ensure bi-directional machines had an operable horn and failing to provide portable ladders which extended at least three feet above the landing surface. 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.

Four repeat violations included failing to provide warning vests for employees exposed to vehicular traffic, failing to provide protective equipment against falling materials and equipment and failing to provide adequate protection for employees in the event of a cave-in. A repeat citation is issued when OSHA has cited the employer during the past three years for substantially similar infractions of the law.

Garney Construction Inc. has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the Little Rock area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Employers or workers who have questions concerning safety and health may contact the Little Rock Area Office at (501) 324-6291 or OSHA's toll-free hotline at 1-800-321-6742. For free job safety consultation services offered by the Arkansas Department of Labor, call (501) 682-4520.

The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and promoting the health and safety of America's workers. In fiscal year 2002, the most recent year for which data have been published, there was a 6.6 percent decline in work-related fatalities in the U.S. For more information visit www.osha.gov.


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U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at <http://www.dol.gov>. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit <http://www.dol.gov/compliance>.


Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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