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OSHA News Release – Region 4
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 4 News Release
Release Number: 04-867-ATL (110)
May 26, 2004
Contact: John Vos   Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (912) 652-4393   (404) 562-2076
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited and proposed monetary penalties against Wynn Brothers Inc. for exposing workers to trenching hazards at an Ocilla construction site.
OSHA began an inspection Jan. 15 after an inspector observed workers installing pipelines in a 13-foot-deep, improperly shored trench on Fitzgerald Highway. The agency has a national emphasis program that allows immediate inspection of a site when trenching hazards are observed.
"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 $115,500 in this case should send a strong message that disregard for worker safety will not be tolerated."
The Ocilla-based company was cited for two alleged willful violations, with proposed penalties of $87,500, for failing to properly shore trench walls, provide a trench box system, and provide workers with a safe means of entering and exiting the trench.
The company was also cited for one alleged repeat violation, with a proposed penalty of $24,500, for failing to place excavated soil at least two feet away from the trench edge, which added to the danger of a cave-in. Wynn Brothers had been cited in January 2002 for a similar violation.
Additionally, the company was cited for two alleged serious violations, with proposed penalties totaling $3,500, for failing to provide workers with hard hats and trench-safety training. 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 the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by staff from OSHA's Savannah area office located at 450 Mall Boulevard, Suite J; phone: (912) 652-4393.
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted almost 40,000 inspections in fiscal year 2003 (Oct. 1, 2002 to Sept. 30, 2003), an increase of more than 2,000 over fiscal year 2002 inspection levels; more than half focused on high-hazard industries. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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
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