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OSHA News Release – Region 4
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 4 News Release
Release Number: 04-913-ATL (112)
Thurs., May 27, 2004
Contact: Andre Richards   Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (770) 984-8700   (404) 562-2076
ATLANTA -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations for alleged job safety violations to Interstate Grading, LLC, after completing its investigation of a trenching accident that trapped four workers last autumn.
"To ensure that worker injuries and fatalities decline in this industry, we must make sure that employers protect employees from trenching hazards," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The significant penalty of $104,300 in this case demonstrates the Administration's commitment to protecting the health and safety of American workers."
OSHA began an inspection Dec. 1, 2003, after Carroll County officials notified the agency that four workers had been rescued from a trench cave-in at a Villa Rica subdivision.
OSHA's investigation found that five employees were leveling the bottom of the 21-foot-deep trench in preparation for the installation of sewer pipes when a trench wall caved in, burying four workers up to their necks. Employees reportedly reacted quickly -- calling the rescue unit and digging their co-workers out by hand.
OSHA cited the company for two alleged willful violations, with proposed penalties of $98,000, for failing to provide a trench-box protective system or shore the trench's vertical walls and for placing excavated soil within two feet of the trench edge.
The company was also cited for three alleged serious violations, with proposed penalties of $6,300, for failing to provide workers with trench-safety training, hard hats and a safe means of entering and exiting the trench.
The company has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The work site was inspected by OSHA's Atlanta-West area office located at 2400 Herodian Way, Suite 250, Smyrna, Ga. Phone: (770) 984-8700.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted almost 40,000 inspections in fiscal year 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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