OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
OSHA News Release – Region 2
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 2 News Release: USDL 04-2370-NEW/BOS 2004-278
Monday, November 22, 2004
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
Cave-In Hazards at Blasdell Supermarket Worksite
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A Rochester electrical contactor's failure to supply cave-in protection for employees working in a six-foot, eight-inch deep trench in Blasdell has resulted in $67,000 in fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Billitier Electric Inc., 737 Atlantic Ave., was cited for one alleged willful and one alleged serious violation of workplace safety standards following an Oct. 29 OSHA inspection prompted by a complaint about unsafe work conditions. Billiter Electrical was installing an electrical conduit in the trench as part of the expansion of the Wegmans Food Store on McKinley Parkway in Blasdell.
OSHA's inspection found that the trench lacked any protection against a collapse of its sidewalls, resulting in a citation for an alleged willful violation, with $63,000 in proposed fines. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
"Cave-in protection is vital because the sides of a trench can collapse suddenly and with great force, stunning and burying workers beneath tons of soil and debris before they have a chance to react or escape," said Art Dube, OSHA's Buffalo area director. "Excavations five feet or deeper must be protected against collapse through shoring, sloping the soil at a shallow angle or by using a protective trench box."
The company was also issued a serious citation and fined an additional $4,000 for failing to ensure that excavated materials were stored at least two feet from the trench's edge. Failure to do so makes a collapse more likely. OSHA defines a serious violation as a condition where death or serious physical harm can result to an employee from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office, located at 5360 Genesee Street, Bowmansville, NY, telephone (716) 684-3891.
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted more than 39,000 inspections in the 2004 fiscal year. Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. 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 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 www.dol.gov/compliance.
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