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OSHA News Release – Region 5
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 5 News Release: 06-781-CHI
June 6, 2006
Contact: Brad Mitchell
TOLEDO, Ohio -- Following inspections at excavation worksites in Fremont, Ohio, the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $251,250 in fines against Speer Bros. Inc., Sandusky, Ohio, for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards.
OSHA opened an inspection in December 2005 following receipt of information that employees were working in unprotected trenches, some as deep as 13 feet, during construction of the City of Fremont Water Main Improvement Project.
The investigation resulted in citations for five willful violations of federal workplace safety regulations, including the failure to provide access and egress from deep trenches, failing to protect workers from cave-ins while inside those trenches, failing to protect against water accumulation inside the trenches and failing to remove employees from hazardous areas after having been advised of hazardous conditions that could result in cave-ins.
"Any one of these violations has the potential to kill the workers inside those trenches," said OSHA Area Director Jule Hovi, Toledo. "Trenching remains one of the most hazardous jobs in construction if proper safety procedures are not followed. When employers shirk their responsibility to keep the workplace safe, the results can be tragic for workers and their families."
Speer Bros. Inc. has an inspection history involving trenching violations dating back to 1992, including willful citations issued in December 2005. The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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 (DOL) 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. Call (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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