OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 4 News Release: 06-1712-ATL (240)
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Contact: Suzanne Street Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (919) 790-8096 (404) 562-2076
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Hendrix-Barnhill, an excavation contractor in Greenville, N.C., for allegedly exposing workers to trenching hazards at the New River Marine Corps Air Station in Jacksonville, N.C. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $44,500.
A federal OSHA inspector, who was at the base Aug. 22, observed the trenching hazards and began an immediate inspection at the water-treatment plant construction site.
"The quick action taken by this compliance officer likely prevented a tragedy," said Suzanne Street, OSHA's area director in Raleigh, N.C. "Although a portion of the trench wall had collapsed following a heavy rainfall, two company employees were sent into the unprotected trench to dig around a new pipe, so that the sewer inspector could see the connection."
OSHA issued one willful citation with a $42,000 proposed penalty for allowing employees to work in a trench more than 5 feet deep without shoring, sloping or a protective system that would prevent trench walls from collapsing. OSHA issues a willful citation when an employer has shown an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
The company also received one serious citation with a $2,500 proposed penalty for failing to properly support or protect an existing gas main that ran through the excavation. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazards.
Most job safety and health inspections in the state are conducted by the North Carolina Department of Labor; however, federal OSHA retains jurisdiction on military posts and other federal property.
The company has 15 business days to contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by staff from federal OSHA's Raleigh area office. The office is located in Somerset Park II, 4407 Bland Road, Room 210, phone (919) 790-8096.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, 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 working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process 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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