OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 4 News Release: 05-2095-ATL (305)
Date: Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Contact: Jeff Romeo Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (904) 232 2895 (404) 562-2076
Agency Proposes Penalties Totaling $134,800 for Unsafe Trenching Operations
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited B.A. Wilson Construction for exposing workers to trenching hazards at two work sites in Lawtey, Fla. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $134,800.
Inspections were initiated June 15 and July 27, after OSHA was notified of unsafe conditions at two work sites where the company was installing storm sewers for the city.
"During the second inspection, our compliance officer requested that an employee be removed from an unsafe trench. The worker climbed out of the trench, and moments later the wall collapsed," said James D. Borders, OSHA's Jacksonville area director.
The company received two willful citations following the July inspection, with total proposed penalties of $78,000, for failing to adequately slope the trench walls or use a trench protective system, and for failing to provide employees with a safe means of entering and exiting the excavation. The agency issues willful citations when an employer has shown an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
Hazards observed by OSHA during the June inspection resulted in one willful citation and a penalty of $28,000 for failing to keep excavated material at least two feet from the edge of a trench. The agency also fined the company $800 for a serious citation, charging that employees were not provided with hard hats when they worked near excavating machinery. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The Lawtey-based company has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspections were conducted by OSHA's Jacksonville area office at 1851 Executive Center Drive, Suite 227; telephone: (904) 232 2895.
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. For a copy of OSHA's pocket card, "Safety in Excavations or Trenches," call the publications office at (202) 693-1888.
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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