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OSHA News Release – Region 4
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 4 News Release
Release Number: 04-1243-ATL (153)
Wed., July 14, 2004
Contact: Ken Atha Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (251) 441-6131 (404) 562-2076
MOBILE, Ala. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Wadsworth-Phillips Contractors Inc., headquartered in Montgomery, for allegedly exposing workers to willful and serious trench safety violations at a Montgomery worksite in January.
"We must ensure that employers protect their workers from occupational hazards, so that injury and illness rates continue to decline, said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The significant penalty of $103,000 proposed in this case demonstrates the Administration's commitment to protecting the health and safety of America's workers."
OSHA cited the company for two alleged willful safety violations, with proposed penalties of $99,000. The citations were issued because the company reportedly allowed employees to work in two trenches with vertical walls, at depths of six and nine feet, without providing protection from cave-ins. It also allowed piles of dirt and rock to be located within two feet of the trenches. The company had been cited previously for similar violations.
Wadsworth-Phillips was also cited for an alleged serious safety violation, with a proposed penalty of $4,000, for failure to train employees to recognize hazards associated with trenching. OSHA issues serious citations when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The company has 15 days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The worksite was inspected by OSHA's Mobile area office; 3737 Government Blvd., Suite 100; phone (251) 441-6131.
OSHA has a national emphasis program that allows staff to inspect any trench or excavation that appears hazardous. The national program also includes a separate compliance assistance arm to help employers and workers recognize and reduce trenching hazards.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted almost 23,000 inspections in the construction industry, an increase of seven percent over fiscal year 2002 levels. 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.
The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc). Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. DOL 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 www.dol.gov/compliance.
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