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Region 6 News Release:   OSHA-04-1100-DAL
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222 or 221

Excavation Hazards at New Orleans Worksite Bring OSHA Citations and Fines

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor has cited a Bessemer, Ala., construction company for an alleged failure to protect employees from the hazards of an excavation. OSHA has proposed penalties of $70,200.

Roland Pugh Construction Inc. was cited for alleged willful, serious and repeat violations of safety standards following an OSHA inspection conducted as part of a national program to prevent fatalities and injuries in trenching and excavations. The inspection began March 30 at a construction site in New Orleans. The company, which employs about 200 workers, was laying a drainage pipeline on Perrier and Sonia Streets in a trench 6.5 feet deep. An OSHA investigator driving by the worksite observed apparent cave-in hazards.

The alleged willful violation was issued for failing to protect employees from the hazards of a cave-in. The employer did not provide a protective system such as sloping of the trench walls or installation of a trench box capable of withstanding a trench wall collapse. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Two alleged serious safety violations were issued for failing to remove debris from the trench edge that could fall down on employees working in the trench and for failing to train and instruct employees in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to work conducted in excavations. A serious violation is one that could cause death or serious physical harm to employees from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The alleged repeat violation was for failing to provide employees with a warning vest marked with high visibility or reflectorized material while working around vehicular traffic. A repeat violation is issued when the same employer has violated the same OSHA standard within the last three years. OSHA fined Roland Pugh Construction for the same violation after an Oct. 9, 2001, inspection.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the Baton Rouge area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call the Baton Rouge OSHA area office at (225) 298-5458. OSHA's toll-free hotline number may be used to report workplace accidents, fatalities, or situations posing imminent danger to workers. The number is 1-800-321-6742.

In fiscal year 2003, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted almost 40,000 inspections, an increase of more than 2,000 inspections over FY 2002 levels; more than half focused on high-hazard industries. OSHA's role is to ensure 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

U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at . 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

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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